How to Transition from Showbiz to Wine Making

Dan Hernandez discusses celebrity winemakers, including Coppola, Depardieu, Sam Neill and Fergie. Yes, that Fergie.

Francis Ford Coppola’s filmography is littered with small moments like this, from the restored French dinner in Apocalypse Now Redux, to a brief exchange in The Conversation where Gene Hackman shares his birthday Chianti with Terri Garr, to almost the entirety of the wine-sogged Godfather trilogy. Wine appears in his films almost tangentially, because in Coppola’s films wine is just another part of life. It makes sense, as he comes from a long line of winemakers, that he invested his earnings from 1972’s  The Godfather towards the purchase of his winery, Rubicon Estate.

Francis Ford Coppola is a Better Winemaker than Director

Yes, we’ve heard that joke before. Coppola is a master, and it would be impossible to have a discussion of film without mentioning his incredibly influential body of work, but his last good movie was Bram Stroker’s Dracula, and that came out twenty years ago.

So it strikes me that he has focused his artistic mores in a new direction. Where early vintages of his wines were the heartfelt result of his hobby, it feels to me like his most recent films are the hobby and his flourishing winery is his livelihood.

Wow. That sounds unnecessarily diminishing of a great artist’s later work. What I mean is this current stage of his career feels like his films are his passion, whereas his wines are his pursuit.

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