1st Edition

A Sense of Place An Intimate Portrait of the Niebaum-Coppola Winery and the Napa Valley

By Steven Kolpan Copyright 1999

    In A Sense of Place, renowned wine expert and writer Steven Kolpan tells the story of how Francis Ford Coppola brought California's most distinguished and historic vineyard back to life.

    Gustave Niebaum's Inglenook Estate, started in 1879, was one of the Napa Valley's first established vineyards and the birthplace of its premium wine industry. Generations after Niebaum's death, the vineyard was sold to Heublein, the wine and spirits monolith, who broke up the land and changed the Inglenook brand from a premium, connoisseur wine to a mass-market jug wine.

    In 1975, Francis Coppola bought the Niebaum residence and the surrounding estate. Along with the original estate's reputation, he also brought back some of its original workers, including Rafael Rodriquez, who, in h is late seventies, now serves as the vineyard manager and historian.

    Coppola overcame naysayers, red tape, and financial turmoil to reestablish the winery as a defender of quality, producing wine under four different labels, including the revered wine Rubicon.

    In 1995, Coppola purchased the Inglenook Chateau and its adjacent vineyards, fulfilling his dream of reuniting the original Napa Valley estate.

    Kolpan's luscious, flavorful narrative is worth enjoying now and keeping for later.


    Foreword: A Sense of Heritage by Francis Ford Coppola

    Chapter 1: Rutherford Dust
    Chapter 2: The Captain of the Ship
    Chapter 3: The Inheritor
    Chapter 4: One with the Land
    Chapter 5: No Winners
    Chapter 6: The Echo of the Vine
    Chapter 7: Harvest Time
    Chapter 8: Stewardship
    Chapter 9: Consulting with the Captain
    Chapter 10: Tasting Notes: The Rubicon Vintages from 1978-1995


    Steven Kolpan, professor of wine studies and gastronomy at The Culinary Institute of America, is the co-author of Exploring Wine: The Culinary Institute of America's Complete Guide to Wines of the World (which was nominated for Best Wine and Spirits book of 1997 by the James Beard Foundation).

    "Kolpan, wine professor at the Culinary Institute of America, tells of the rise, fall, and rebirth of the Neibaum-Coppola Winery...Kolpan nicely incorporates vivid figures (including Rafael Rodriquez, a Mexican who started at Inglenook as a migrant worker in the 1940s and now serves as the vineyard manager and historian) and explanations of such viticultural concepts as 'terrior.'." -- Publisher's Weekly, 8/30
    "Steven Kolpan's remarkably well researched book on the Niebaum-Coppola Winery goes well beyond the walls of the vineyard of the winery itself. In addition to addressing the importance of this remarkable winery, it offers a passionate and informative look at the history of the California wine industry as a whole. A Sense of Place is one of the most enjoyable, educational and significant wine books I have ever read." -- Daniel Johnnes, Wine Director, Montrachet, New York City and the author of Daniel Johnnes' Top 200 Wines: An Expert's Guide to Maximum Enjoyment for Your Dollar
    "Kolpan ends his book with his own detailed tasting notes of every Rubicon, the premier red wine produced here. This alone is invaluable information, as are the interviews, the history and a sense, not only of place, but of what is right and great about Napa Valley. Steven Kolpan has written an unforgettable book about an unforgettable story." -- The Underground Wine Journal
    "Having grown up in the Napa Valley and watched Inglenook decline, is was wonderful to see Francis Ford Coppola resurrect the Inglenook Winery from the ashes and restore it to its past glories. Steven Kolpan's A Sense of Place captures the essence and the spirit of this metamorphosis." -- Louis "Bob" Trinchero, Chairman and CEO, Trinchero Family Estates/Sutter Home Winery