The history of Inglenook Winery in Napa, California, spans nearly as long as California itself — with the first vines planted in 1879. Over the decades, this winery has been owned by some of the state’s most well-known and acclaimed wine producers. Explore the fascinating history behind Inglenook Winery in Napa, including its former owners and the town that shares its name with it, by reading its brief history as follows:

Inglenook Winery

The origins of Inglenook Winery in Napa date back to the late 1800s, but it was not always known by that name. The winery was originally called White Rock Vineyards, after the area in which it was located. During that time, it used to be a part of the Inglenook estate owned by George Yount and Dr. Edward Taylor during the mid-19th century. Subsequently, it was purchased by Gustave Niebaum. He transformed it into one of California’s top wine-producing companies at the time by producing excellent quality wines and establishing it as one of the state’s best attractions for tourists.

Gustaf Ferdinand Nybom

Gustaf Ferdinand Nybom

Inglenook – Purchased by Niebaum

Niebaum purchased the Inglenook property and the adjoining Rohlwing Farm for $48000. After doing extensive study and traveling, he picked Inglenook’s site, realizing its remarkable potential for cultivating high-quality grapes. Later on, he kept on securing more modest bundles of adjoining land over the next few years. According to some estimates, he almost spent $60,000 to buy these lands. Interestingly, he diligently gathered books consisting of winemaking processes and made a private library. Currently, it is considered an ideal place to learn more about viticulture.

First Harvest in 1882

Inglenook Winery, owned by Niebaum in 1879, made its first harvest in 1882. At that time, European Chateaus were its primary rival. The winery produced almost 8000 gallons of fine-quality wine during the first harvest in 1882. The winemaking process was conducted in a private residence owned by Niebaum.

The Reopening of Inglenook Winery

Unfortunately, Niebaum suddenly passed away on 5th August, at 66 years old, because of heart disease. Consequently, the winemaking process got stopped for around the next two years. Yet, Mrs. Niebaum resumed the process in 1911 with an agreement with the cooperation of San Francisco and B. Arnhold. They appointed Herman Lange as the Manager of this Winery. Apart from this, Lafayette was appointed as winemaker.

In addition to this, John Daniel Jr., nephew of Niebaum, took over activities in 1939. It thrived during the 1950s, and then, in 1964, it was handed over to Allied Grape Growers.

Inglenook was Sold

Maintaining the entire winemaking operation was an extremely complicated task, so Daniel sold the winery in 1964. However, he retained the home of Niebaum, and along with this, he retained almost 1,500 acres of property. Unfortunately, he died in 1970, and then his wife sold the remaining property that was considered Real Inglenook Estate.

New Era Started in 1975

For an unassuming “excursion cabin” in Napa Valley, Francis and Eleanor Coppola bought a piece of what had been the Inglenook domain in 1975. Subsequently, they soon realized the true value of that property and built up their own winery. It was called Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery.

Rubicon was a kind of Bordeaux-style mixed wine that was produced in 1978. The name (Rubicon) highlights the true objective of Coppola, who wanted to create the highest quality of wine in the iconic Inglenook region.

Inglenook Winery has a long and rich history, dating back to the late 1800s. The winery has been through many changes over the years, but it remains one of Napa Valley’s most iconic wineries. Inglenook is known for its high-quality wines and for being one of California’s top tourist attractions.

Inglenook Whinery

Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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