Francis Ford Coppola announced today that he has acquired the iconic Inglenook trademark and that henceforth, his celebrated Rubicon Estate in Rutherford, Napa Valley will be known by its historic original name, Inglenook, which he has acquired from The Wine Group. In addition, beginning this summer renowned Bordeaux winemaker Philippe Bascaules will assume the position of Estate Manager and Winemaker at the newly renamed Inglenook.
Inglenook and its wines have played a prominent role in defining Napa Valley as one of the great wine regions of the world, with a legacy dating back nearly 150 years to the founding of the Inglenook Winery in 1879 by Gustave Niebaum. The 1941 Inglenook Cabernet, which is considered one of the greatest wines ever made, was produced from vineyards that are still part of Coppola’s estate in Rutherford.
“Welcoming a preeminent winemaker like Philippe Bascaules to the renamed Inglenook expresses my intention to honor the estate’s heritage and restore its legacy,” said Coppola. “There’s an interesting idea that the owner of a wine estate is part of the terroir, and it’s in this spirit that I’ve spent the last year assessing Inglenook’s future needs, including recruiting Philippe Bascaules, invigorating the vineyards, planning a new state-of-the-art winemaking facility, and focusing on what it would take to achieve my goal of restoring this property into America’s greatest wine estate. This would not be possible save the gracious support of the owner/managers of The Wine Group.”
Rubicon will continue to be the proprietary name of Inglenook’s flagship wine, and Bascaules, who spent the past 21 years at Chateau Mârgaux, will lead a team of talented winemaking professionals dedicated to the goal of making Rubicon the finest New World estate wine produced in the Old World style. Bascaules will work closely with Stéphane Derenoncourt, the famed Pomerol-based winemaking consultant who has been the consulting winemaker at the Estate responsible for the 2008 and subsequent vintages.
For the past 11 years, Bascaules served as Estate Director at the legendary Chateau Mârgaux, one of France’s five First Growth Bordeaux wineries, overseeing the vineyards and cellars and working alongside renowned Technical Director Paul Pontallier. Bascaules, who has an agricultural engineering degree, specializing in oenology, from the graduate school of agronomy in Montpellier, France, began his career at Chateau Mârgaux as the assistant to the Estate Director.
Concurrent with Bascaules’s arrival, Heather de Savoye has been appointed President of Sales for Inglenook. Over the past four and a half years, de Savoye has successfully established an international sales presence for the Estate wines and will now assume responsibility for both international and domestic wholesale sales operations. Since only the intellectual property of Inglenook brand is being transferred, The Wine Group intends to transition the current wines sold under the brand name to alternative labels over the coming months. No financial terms of this transaction have been disclosed.