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Tucker Auto at Francis For Coppola Winery

A thing about wine tasting: you can only do so much of it. You won't find me trailing up and down some viney valley imbibing at one winery after another. After the first stop I feel the urge to do a face plant on the lawn.

Wineries have to offer more than tastings to hold their audiences these days and few do it better than showbiz master Francis Ford Coppola.

I spent a couple of hours at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery without sipping a drop. But there were other things to do.

Coppola's inspiration is Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, which he describes a “pleasure garden” for all to enjoy. It does have a bit of a Tivoli look to it with its park, outdoor cafes and pavilion with live music. Its swimming pool, in the winter, hosts a min-regatta of toy boats.

Its greatest attraction, however, is the Movie Gallery with memorabilia from Coppola's half-century of film making. Let your eyes drift upward from the cherry Tucker Torpedo, which starred in “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.” to Don Corleone’s desk. No sign of the horse head. There was a section dedicated to “Apocalypse Now” and costumes from Bram Stoker's Dracula. One wonders what Vlad The Impaler's wine choice would have been. Doubt that it would be a Chardonnay.

The Francis Ford Coppola Winery is in the Alexander Valley, just west of US 101 near Geyserville, California.