Back in the 1970s, you could try and compete with the greatness of Francis Ford Coppola if you really wanted, but there was simply no chance you would reach his titanic power in contemporary cinema. Making The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now and The Conversation all in the space of one decade, Coppola burned himself out and was never able to reach such unassailable heights again.
Releasing both The Outsiders and Rumble Fish in 1983 and Peggy Sue Got Married in 1986, Coppola was consistently unable to replicate such great success, so leaned back on another industry entirely to earn his fortune; wine.
Whilst a countless number of celebrities have turned to the fruity elegance of winemaking including Jay-Z, Post Malone and Cameron Diaz, none of them even scratch the surface of Coppola’s success. Purchasing his first vineyard in 1975, a year after the release of The Godfather Part II, the filmmaker and businessman has grown his operations significantly, opening the impressive Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley in 2010.
Making him far more money than any of his movies ever did, the ambition of the spectacular filmmaker hasn’t left him, however, telling GQ about his production process that includes “120 distinct growing areas of grapes,” each of which with their own underground fermenter so that Coppola can easily tell which fruit creates the best wine. It’s a wild process that’s infused with Coppola’s own insane approach to filmmaking, bringing unbelievable worlds and ideas into fruition.
Such will, no doubt, take shape with Francis Ford Coppola’s passion project, Megalopolis, an epic futuristic project that the filmmaker has been working on for a great number of years. Recently deciding to put $120 million of his own wine fortune into the blockbuster spectacular rumoured to be starring Oscar Isaac, Forest Whitaker and Cate Blanchett, Coppola’s significant winery has allowed him total freedom when it comes to filmmaking.
Coppola discussed his love of the white, red and pink stuff in an interview with Forbes in 2013, telling the publication, “As a child, I never saw a dinner table without wine…So living in San Francisco I thought it would be a good idea to have a summer house with an acre or two of grapes”. This early obsession quickly led the director to take on the profitable winery later in life, with the director believing that his time in the cinema industry greatly influenced his ambition as a businessman.
“Each is an art form,” Coppola states, adding, “each is an art form, and in this case, they divide into three segments”. Continuing, the filmmaker draws lavish comparisons between the two industries, clarifying the segments as, “ gathering of the source material (Grapes or Shots), fashioning the work (Winemaking or Editing) and finishing it (Post Production, Music, etc. or Fining and Putting into the final package)”.
Though Francis Ford Coppola hasn’t made a great film since the release of The Rainmaker in 1997, here’s hoping that the influence of his time working in the wine industry may make Megalopolis a contemporary classic.
Take a look at the filmmaker talking about one of his delicious bottles of vino, below.