Sipping and splashing at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, CA
Driving through Geyserville, CA you might not think that there is much to do. The town is quaint with a few good restaurants, two convenience stores, a tasting room or two, a vintage/antique shop that spills into a driveway, and a horse and tack shop. It feels more like a typical wine country farm town than the slowly gentrifying space that it is. Travelers in the know have figured out that just outside of town there is a bit more to see and do, especially if you love Francis Ford Coppola wine and are traveling with your kids.
Francis Ford Coppola is known better as an Oscar-winning film director than a wine maker, but this man has his hand in more enterprises than you would think possible. Years ago Coppola moved into the travel and culinary space when he opened the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, restaurants throughout northern California, including one at the winery and one in San Francisco, and several resort properties across the globe. You may wonder why he chose Geyserville for his winery space, when Napa and the town of Sonoma are more frequently visited. What Coppola saw in this part of California wine country was that families needed a destination to spend the day in while they tasted wine, but also kept their kids entertained. He is a family man, and didn’t want his own kids and grand kids excluded, which is why it’s the only winery in the area with a swimming pool that guests can use.
Yes, the Francis Ford Coppola Winery pool can get packed in the summer months. Reservations go up online in March and spots can fill up by the end of the month for the entire summer. Off-season spots and weekdays are a bit easier to come by, but don’t tell your kids you are going to the pool if you don’t already have a confirmed reservation. Will-call spots are available if you show up at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery pool, but don’t always count on them. Locals like to use this pool to gather with friends on the weekend, enjoy a glass of wine or two and a pizza from the pool bar. You really can spend the whole day here.
Parents can enjoy the Francis Ford Coppola Winery over others because the pool is staffed with lifeguards and food servers, making it easy to keep an eye on the kids, feed everyone and enjoy your time in the California sun for the day. While one parent hangs out with the kids, the other can go to the pool bar or the inside tasting room for a sip of their favorite vintages and check out the massive and unique gift shop that has been carefully curated by Eleanor, Coppola’s wife.
Kids will love splashing in the pool, playing in the fountains, munching on pizza and running into the Teepee reading room that is stocked with books. This little tent is the perfect place to get a break from the sun, tell secrets with siblings and make a few new friends. The Francis Ford Coppola Winery gift shop does have a children’s section of toys that your kids will love as well.
At the end of the day rinse everyone off and get dressed for a delectable meal at Rustica, Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s onsite Italian restaurant that features many of the dishes he loved growing up that his mama used to make. Ask for a table on the terrace so you can watch the sunset over the grapevines. If you are looking for a place to enjoy wine country with your kids, this spot will definitely do the trick.
Know Before You Go
Francis Ford Coppola Winery, 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, CA 95441
- Pool reservations: the calendar with availability goes up in March. Grab your spot by the pool as soon as possible as they do fill up and there is a max. capacity.
- Cabanas: If you want a changing room with a shower for your family to enjoy you will pay a little more, but it can be worth it. You will get a key to your cabana where you can store your stuff and get ready for dinner after your are finished playing for the day.
- Strollers? Yes, but only if you think the baby will sleep by the pool or at the restaurant.
- Dining options: Rustica is the formal sit down restaurant (reservations recommended), while the pool bar offers sandwiches and pizzas delivered right to your lounge chair or table by the pool.
- Favorite bites: You can never go wrong with the Pizza Sofia or the zucchini fries
- Favorite sips: the Sofia Blanc de Blancs in a can is perfect by the pool, while the Viognier and Pinot Grigio are wonderful whites to enjoy. (I can’t drink red since I get migraines)
- Where to stay: There is no hotel available at the winery, but the Geyserville Inn in town is a comfortable place to stay with standard rooms and balcony’s. The restaurant next door, the Geyserville Grille, is great for breakfast. Alternatively you will have more family friendly property choices in the town of Healdsburg that is only about a 15-minute drive from the winery.