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Coppola Expands Sofia Line, Says New Brand On The Way

September 25, 2013

Francis Ford Coppola Winery has added a Monterey County Chardonnay to its Sofia range, and is prepping a new brand following its acquisition of the Geyser Peak Winery this past spring.

The new Sofia Chardonnay ($19 a 750-ml.) joins Riesling, Rosé and a Blanc de Blancs sparkler in the line. Coppola winemaker and general manager Corey Beck tells SND the new offering was designed to meet brand namesake Sofia Coppola’s preference for more crisp and minerally Chablis-style Chardonnays.

Meanwhile, Beck says to expect more new-product activity from Coppola looking ahead. “There will be a new brand upcoming,” he reports, declining to add further detail for now. Coppola augmented its production capabilities in March by purchasing the Geyser Peak facility and its 32 acres of vineyards, valued around $35 million (Accolade Wines retained the Geyser Peak brand). That acquisition joined Coppola’s existing Alexander Valley winery, which is permitted for 10,000 tons of grapes and a 2-million-case bottling line and was recently developed into a tourist destination with a pool, movie theater and other features. Beck says the Geyser Peak site could also potentially see tourist amenities added.

Within Coppola’s wine portfolio, its Claret ($18)—the flagship of the 770,000-case Diamond Collection—has been among the best performers. “We decided to elevate Claret a few years ago (the rest of the Diamond Collection retails around $15), and we were ahead of the current craze for blends,” Beck says. On the more challenging side, California Merlot continues to be a tough sell, he notes, in spite of the fact that quality on the varietal has been improving in recent years.

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