Our tour of Inglenook was one of my favorites, ever. The winery began in the late 1800s by a man who became a millionaire with a shipping company, who built the gorgeous castle-like winery and a mansion on the property. He passed his fortune along to his nephew who took over the business with a “pride over profit” philosophy vowing only to make the best wine. He did make the best wine – the 1941 Inglenook Cab was named one of the top 10 wines of the 20th century by Wine Spectator – but he never made a profit because he poured out all of the wine over the years that wasn’t up to his standards. He sold the winery to a corporation who did make Inglewood profitable, but in name only – they didn’t make wine on the estate. Francis Ford Coppola bought the other half of the estate which included vineyards and the mansion from his widow. This property is where the Coppola family grew up and still lives today. He began making wine after meeting his neighbor, Bob Mondavi, who convinced him to make wine from the vineyards. Coppola bought the winery and later the Inglenook name in 2011, and has been making Inglenook wines on the estate — and the wines are all incredible. He transformed the winery into a museum (in addition to making wine in it) and has his own table on the patio next to the cafe. We did not get to meet him, but loved listening to the story of Inglenook while enjoying the wine. 🍷 (ps – That’s about a $1 million worth of wine aging in the barrels in that photo.)
If you see Inglenook on the menu, order it. You won’t be disappointed.
Here’s a photo album of our visit –