This post will have a lot of pictures because we not only got a tour, a tasting, and dinner, there's so much else to see at the Coppola winery.
The Coppola winery is in Geyserville, and is much more than a vineyard. The public can come for tastings, dinner, pool activities, bocce ball, tours, private events, a lot of stuff. It's clearly marked (picture above), and wine tastings are from 11am to 6pm.
We arrived with plenty of time before our tour and tasting because there's so much to see at the winery. The Movie Gallery is where movie memorabilia and awards are on display. There are costumes from movies like Dracula, Apocalypse Now, and Youth Without Youth, the car from Tucker, and of course, Don Corleone's desk from the Godfather, plus Coppola's awards.
The tour we booked was a bottling tour, which took us out to the vineyards to learn about the property, then through the main building to the bottling room, and out to the fermentation tanks. We would taste 5 wines along the way (there was a bonus 6th wine), and we had the first two wines at the beginning of the tour with the others scattered at different stations. My advice is to eat heartily before this tour. Our guide was generous with the pours and I hadn't had anything to eat since lunch since we were having dinner after the tour. Rookie mistake!
2012 Director's Chardonnay
Sofia Blanc de Blanc sparking wine
2013 Director's Cut Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
2012 Director's Merlot
2013 Director's Cut Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Bonus: the Eleanor. A red wine named after Francis Ford Coppola's wife, Eleanor
Thank goodness we were having dinner after the tour because I was pretty happy :-p We booked reservations at the Rustic Restaurant in advance and were seated outside. I went with Mrs. Scorsese's Lemon Chicken, which is a recipe Martin Scorsese's mother used to make. I figured where else would I be able to eat a Scorsese dinner at a Coppola winery? It is very lemony, but the chicken held up to it very well. Sorry, no picture, but I did remember to take a picture of dessert, Italia Cream Puffs. That's chocolate sauce in the mini-pitcher.
What I found interesting between the two vineyards we went to that Monday was the difference in Chardonnays. Tasting the Coppola Chardonnay, I could tell a BIG difference because Chardonnays inland are buttery and oakey, and I could see what the Fort Ross employee meant by the cooler weather letting the grapes on the coast keep their crisp, fruity flavor. Comparing the two, I prefer the Fort Ross Chardonnay, but I really liked the Director's Cut Cab and the Eleanor. I wanted to taste the new wine they mentioned, the Pitagora, but didn't get a chance.
If y'all are planning to go to the Coppola winery, take your time. We were there starting around 3-ish for a 4pm tour so we could have time to look at the movie displays and not be rushed. There are 4 "experiences" up for reservation and 3 tastings.