Francis Ford Coppola’s Niebaum-Coppola Estate Vineyards and Winery in Rutherford, CA, will produce Skywalker Ranch Viandante del Cielo Marin County Chardonnay and Merlot from grapes grown on George Lucas’ property. “Viandante del Cielo” means “sky walker” in Italian. (If you don’t get the reference, forget this and just go on to the next post.)
Coppola and Lucas have made wine together for about 12 years, but the 2002 vintage is their first commercial release. McLeod says Lucas and Coppola were chatting at a Niebaum-Coppola harvest party 12 years ago and Lucas mentioned that some grapes he had planted on his sprawling studio ranch were ready for picking. He had no winemaking facilities and no buyer lined up.
Coppola offered to vinify the grapes for a fee and return the wine to Lucas, who used it for corporate Christmas gifts and events. Coppola’s staff began advising Lucas’ vineyard managers on pruning, irrigation and the like. They talked about commercializing the project over the years, but it never made it off the back burner until now, says [Niebaum-Coppola’s Scott] McLeod.
The wine label doesn’t have Lucas’ name on it, and the image is an abstract from stained glass in Lucas’ home. It may or may not be a woman’s chest or two wine glasses. (No doubt, when technology catches up with Lucas’ grand vision, we’ll find out what it is when he releases the Special Edition Wines.)
Lucas’ vineyard apparently doesn’t have prime grape-growing conditions, either in soil or climate. Still, many great wines are great expressly because of the relatively harsh location of the vineyard.
I’d say “We’ll see,” but we probably won’t. Only 320 cases of Chardonnay and 350 cases of Merlot will be produced this year, and some years will yield no wine at all. (via TheForce.net)
UPDATE: Actually, maybe we WILL see. You can order the wine online here. Enter coupon code SPLT03 for a first-time-buyer’s 15% discount. The Chardonnay only is available for $30 per bottle before discount or shipping. I’ll maybe order one to drink when the Classic Trilogy DVDs come out.