Inglenook is a historic and large estate in Rutherford that has undergone a couple of name changes in the course of its long history. From 1975 until 2006 it was officially named Niebaum-Coppola estate to reflect the fact that the estate had been purchased by the film director Francis Coppola. However the estate’s roots go back to 1879 when a German sea captain named Gustave Niebaum bought the property and named it Inglenook. Inglenook wines became a benchmark for the young California wine industry in the early 20th century. In 2011 the Coppolas bought the Inglenook trademark which allowed them to once again call the estate Inglenook. Niebaum-Coppola makes several labels and much of their wine is made from purchased grapes. The flagship wine is Rubicon, a Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The estate also makes Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and a white Rhone-style blend.
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,
Zinfandel is a black-skinned grape, but 85% of the wine produced is made into a rosy “White Zinfandel.” Red Zin is far more complex and bold, while still being light-bodied. It grows in popularity as winemakers continue to experiment with new styles and blends.