From bottle to box and back to bottle: Inglenook [Coppola]

inglenook wine rubicon

Francis Ford Coppola is pulling a daring business move: renaming his wine estate after a box wine.

Of course, for Inglenook, it wasn’t always that way. The property is one of the oldest in Napa Valley, founded in 1879, and its image was burnished in the middle of the twentieth century by John Daniel who produced some lauded cabernet sauvignons. But then it was tarnished as the brand became separated from the estate and winery and came to make and market wines such as “Burgundy,” “Chablis,” sangria and–wait for it–”Sunset Blush.”

So it is a challenge that the director of The Godfather has taken on, one that must hearken back to a black-and-white era, while encouraging consumers to forget the intervening decades of jugs, boxes and blush. Do you think he can do it? Do you care? Oh, and to signal his quality play, he also hired away the winemaker from Chateau Margaux (but he has not purchased the Napanook vineyard, which contributed to Inglenook in the 40s and 50s). I think that he could do it with lots of nostalgia marketing, but it will take decades to break the box/jug association. And, by then, we could see if the wines were worthy of John Daniel.

Fun fact: in 2009, WBM estimated Coppola made 900,000 cases of wine, making it the 17th biggest winery in the US.

Related: “Coppola makes leading wine expert a deal he can’t refuse” [Marketplace]

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4 Responses to “From bottle to box and back to bottle: Inglenook [Coppola]”


  1. Gotta love that website: “French Colombard and Chenin Blanc makes for a light, crisp Chablis.”

    HUH???

    Yep, and pizza dough and pepperoni makes a fantastic milkshake.


  2. What’s happened to Rubicon’s winemaker? Francis has employed lots of talented folks (including the infamous Mr Stone) to work on wine and blending, and the wines have always been good. Any news as to where they’ve ended up? They’re already off the website!


  3. Do Mr. Coppola and his marketing team really face an uphill battle as they try to re-define the Inglenook brand as fine wine, rather than jug wine? I myself have never heard of Inglenook boxed wine (I’m familiar with the history behind the estate, however), and I suspect that most people who have the money to buy Rubicon might not spend a lot of time perusing the boxed wine aisle either.


  4. [...] Asimov, Jon Bonné, and Tyler Colman cover the news that Francis Ford Coppola has acquired the iconic Inglenook name that was once [...]


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