The origins of this historic winery in Rutherford in California's Napa Valley date back to 1879, when the Finnish captain Gustave Niebaum (1842-1908) founded the "Inglenook Winery" (Inglenook = fireplace corner). He had a beautiful castle built in Victorian style. After it was closed down during the American Prohibition (1920-1933), the business was reactivated by the widow Suzanne Niebaum. In 1939 the estate was taken over by the founder-grand-nephew John Daniel, whose Cabernet Sauvignon vintage 1940 was apostrophized as the best in California at that time. In 1975, the US director Francis Ford Coppola and his wife Eleanor acquired around 600 hectares of land with the considerable profit from his multi-part cult film "The Godfather". The brand name "Inglenook" on the other hand, the winery and 40 hectares of vineyards were bought by the beverage company Heublein, which produced mass wines under this label.
After several changes of ownership, the "Inglenook" brand was owned by the Constellation Brands beverage multinational from 1994 and by the Wine Group from 2008. Under this name, large quantities of so-called value brands or also Fighting Varietals (inexpensive wines of good quality) were produced. The wide range of products includes pure wines and cuvées of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Zinfandel varieties. Inglenook was one of the top five US wine brands designated as GAMIT. As a result of the sale of the name "Inglenook" to Coppola (see below) in 2011, Wine Group will produce these wines under other brand names.
Coppola initially called his property "Niebaum-Coppola" and spent 20 years buying back the vineyards of the historic estate and re-establishing it as a winery. It was not until 1995 that the castle, the historic cellar and vineyards were finally acquired. His declared aim was "to make the best Californian wine in Bordeaux style, which one should still be able to drink in a hundred years. From 1978 onwards, the "Rubicon" was produced, a red wine made from the classic varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot (not to be confused with the "Rubicon" of the South African Meerlust Estate). Only the very best selected grape material is used for the wine. The red wine matures for three years in French oak and two years in the bottle before it is bottled and put on the market. It is characterized by a deep dark, almost black colour and a bouquet of mint. This wine gave the company its new name "Rubicon Estate Winery" in 2006.
In April 2011 Coppola announced that it had acquired the "Inglenook" brand name from the Wine Group. This is exclusively the exclusive right to use the name as a new name for the winery instead of "Rubicon Estate Winery"; the Coppola Winery does not produce wine called "Inglenook". The flagship "Rubicon" will continue to be called so. It was agreed not to disclose the financial terms. At the same time, the well-known winemaker Philippe Bascaules (21 years with Château Margaux) was hired as Estate Manager and Winemaker at the newly renamed "Inglenook Winery". The previously responsible Scott McLeod retired in 2010. The coup was described as the "rebirth of a historically significant American winery". Already in 2007 Copolla acquired the former "Château Sovereign" in Sonoma County. Here, under Francis Ford Coppola Winery, a wide range of different wines is produced.