The History of Inglenook Winery in Napa

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

Inglenook Winery

The origins of Inglenook Winery in Napa date back to the late 1800s, but this was not always its name. The winery was originally named after its locationWhite Rock Vineyards. During the mid-19th century, George Yount and Dr. Edward Taylor owned this part of the Inglenook estate. Subsequently, Gustave Niebaum purchased the winery. 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 Niebaum

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 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 took place in Niebaum’s private residence.

The Reopening of Inglenook Winery

Unfortunately, Niebaum suddenly passed away on August 5th, at 66 years old, from heart disease. Consequently, the winemaking process stopped for the next two years. Yet, Mrs. Niebaum resumed the process in 1911 with the cooperation of San Francisco and B. Arnhold. They named Herman Lange the manager of the winery, and Lafayette was the appointed 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, Allied Grape Growers took over.

The Selling of Inglenook

It was an extremely complicated task to maintain the entire winemaking operation, 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 Inglenook Estate property.

New Era 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 their own winery. Its name was 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 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 California’s top tourist attraction.

Inglenook Whinery

Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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