“You have a tall task — on two fronts.”
Those were the words my friend and consigliere Jeff Lefevere (who has got to be the most talented blogger currently not blogging) had for me when I asked him for advice in interviewing movie icon Francis Ford Coppola about his Sonoma wine endeavors.
“Coppola is near icon, and has been oft-interviewed,” Jeff pointed out, before quickly adding, “More importantly, how do you talk a little wine without coming off sounding like a shill who is reading from the press release?”
That last part is something that plagues writers covering any area. Even if you pull out all of the stops and interviewing chops, some people will simply give you charming marketing spiel, the equivalent of the stuff you could get from their website About pages only in certified from-the-horse’s-mouth quotation form.
So for my Wined Down / Playboy.com interview with Coppola, I decided to take Jeff’s advice and try to get inside of Coppola’s head a little bit, even going so far as to link our conversation back to a PB interview that he did around forty years ago (for more on that one, see Playboy’s 50 Years of the Playboy Interview collection). I suppose it worked to some extent, since in the course of it he reveals that he’s working on a new screenplay, and even the publicists on his side didn’t know about that. More likely I just got lucky.
Anyway… we talk wine, of course, focusing on his work in Sonoma (look, Coppola’s Rubicon/Inglenook stuff is an awesome story line, but as Jeff insightfully pointed out, it’s been oft-told), his love of Bordeaux, how he looks back on previous interviews and the iconic characters that he’s created, and whether or not he was trying to tell the wine cognoscenti to f*ck off by moving his movie memorabilia and shop out of Napa.
Okay, this is the part where you head over to PB and check it out!
Here’s an interesting bit of wine news – it’s not everyday that you hear about a veritable Apocalypse Now of tens of thousands and thousands of bottles of wine, let alone have that wine related to movie icons, providing an opportunity to utilize puns related to kick-ass cinema in a wine context.
This week, Law.com and Courthouse News Service reported the news that Napa Valley producer Coppola (owned of course by famed producer and director Francis Ford Coppola) is suing cork and bottle manufacturer Vinocor USA, alleging that Vinocor is responsible for ruining 55,000 cases of the Coppola wines.
Yes, 55,000 cases (nearly 700K bottles of wine). That’s a lot of vinegar!
Apparently Coppola’s company Francis Ford Coppola Presents paid Vinocor nearly $700K to produce some funky-looking bottles with over-sized screwcap enclosures to help promote their “Encyclopedia” line of wines. But it looks likenot all went to plan, as Coppola is claiming the substandard quality of the Vinocor products resulted in the oxidation of all 55,000 cases bottled of Encyclopedia.
That’s certainly the largest amount of wine I’ve ever heard of being ruined by a screwcap enclosure. The allegation is not against screwcaps in general, of course – it’s that the Vinocor screwcaps were allegedly flawed, having issues with their threading and didn’t create a proper seal to protect the wine.
Will this lawsuit cause a setback in the adoption of screwcaps?
I doubt it – certainly some top-notch wines are well bought into the stelvin enclosures, including New Zealand’s Kim Crawford and California’s Bonny Doon. Properly-made screwcaps seem more than capable of properly aging a wine, at least when it comes to medium-term storage. Whether they will help a wine last 20+ years is more debatable question, but theoretically there’s no reason why they couldn’t.
Got a stance on screwcaps, wine-related lawsuits, or Coppola movie quotes? Shout `em out in the comments!