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.
Rutherford AVA is just north of the Oakville AVA in the heart of Napa Valley, and it is equally distinguished. It is home to Beaulieu Vineyard and inglenook, arguably Napa Valley’s most historically influential wineries. Inglenook started making in wine in the late 19th century, and Beaulieu Vineyards was producing by the first years of the 20th century. BV founder Georges de Latour is particularly esteemed for having recruited Andre Tchelistcheff, a renowned research oenologist, to move from France to Napa Valley in 1938 and run BV’s winemaking. The legendary Tchelistcheff brought European winemaking techniques to Napa Valley and vastly improved wine quality. Other Rutherford winemakers followed his lead. Today there are 5,000 vineyard acres in Rutherford and many acclaimed producers. The famous Silverado Trail with its exclusive, limited production wineries, runs partly through Rutherford AVA. Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignons are characterized by supple tannins, richness, notes of cherry and plum, depth and the ability to age for several decades. Besides Cabernet Sauvignon the AVA also grows Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. It received its AVA designation in 1994.