Very exciting news for the valley.
RUTHERFORD, CA (April 11, 2011) - Francis Ford Coppola announced today that
he has acquired the iconic Inglenook trademark and that henceforth, his
celebrated Rubicon Estate in Rutherford, Napa Valley will be known by its
historic original name, Inglenook, which he has acquired from The Wine
Group. In addition, beginning this summer renowned Bordeaux winemaker
Philippe Bascaules will assume the position of Estate Manager and Winemaker
at the newly renamed Inglenook.
Inglenook and its wines have played a prominent role in defining Napa Valley
as one of the great wine regions of the world, with a legacy dating back
nearly 150 years to the founding of the Inglenook Winery in 1879 by Gustave
Niebaum. The 1941 Inglenook Cabernet, which is considered one of the
greatest wines ever made, was produced from vineyards that are still part of
Coppola’s estate in Rutherford.
“Welcoming a preeminent winemaker like Philippe Bascaules to the renamed
Inglenook expresses my intention to honor the estate’s heritage and restore
its legacy,” said Coppola. “There’s an interesting idea that the owner of a
wine estate is part of the terroir, and it’s in this spirit that I’ve spent
the last year assessing Inglenook’s future needs, including recruiting
Philippe Bascaules, invigorating the vineyards, planning a new
state-of-the-art winemaking facility, and focusing on what it would take to
achieve my goal of restoring this property into America’s greatest wine
estate. This would not be possible save the gracious support of the
owner/managers of The Wine Group.”
“Good stewardship of our brands is central to our company’s operating
philosophy and culture,” said David Kent, CEO of The Wine Group. “We are
pleased to see the revered Inglenook brand reunited with its historic estate
under The Coppola Family’s stewardship. This is a proud moment for the
California wine industry.”
“I was charmed by the beauty of the estate and its unique environment,” said
Bascaules. “I found the tasting of 1959 Inglenook astonishing with regard to
its freshness and complexity, and when I tasted some samples of the 2009
vintage, I recognized the incredible potential of this property. I
understand Francis Ford Coppola’s desire to bring the quality of the wines
to their fullest potential and I’m excited to explore new methods to reach
Rubicon will continue to be the proprietary name of Inglenook’s flagship
wine, and Bascaules, who spent the past 21 years at Chateau Mârgaux, will
lead a team of talented winemaking professionals dedicated to the goal of
making Rubicon the finest New World estate wine produced in the Old World
style. Bascaules will work closely with Stéphane Derenoncourt, the famed
Pomerol-based winemaking consultant who has been the consulting winemaker at
the Estate responsible for the 2008 and subsequent vintages.
For the past 11 years, Bascaules served as Estate Director at the legendary
Chateau Mârgaux, one of France’s five First Growth Bordeaux wineries,
overseeing the vineyards and cellars and working alongside renowned
Technical Director Paul Pontallier. Bascaules, who has an agricultural
engineering degree, specializing in oenology, from the graduate school of
agronomy in Montpellier, France, began his career at Chateau Mârgaux as the
assistant to the Estate Director.
Concurrent with Bascaules’s arrival, Heather de Savoye has been appointed
President of Sales for Inglenook. Over the past four and a half years, de
Savoye has successfully established an international sales presence for the
Estate wines and will now assume responsibility for both international and
domestic wholesale sales operations.
Since only the intellectual property of Inglenook brand is being
transferred, The Wine Group intends to transition the current wines sold
under the brand name to alternative labels over the coming months. No
financial terms of this transaction have been disclosed.