Gia Coppola Enters the Family Business(es)

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Gia Coppola, the scion of the filmmaking and winemaking family, has had quite the year. Her writing and directorial feature film debut, Palo Alto (based on short stories by pal James Franco), was released in May. At the same time, she also launched her new wine brand, “Gia by Gia Coppola,” featuring three varietals: a Frizzante Chardonnay, a Pinot Grigio and a Pinot Noir.

This Coppola—granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola and Sofia Coppola’s niece—is just 27 years old.

Her youth belies the fact that she’s been involved with the family’s Northern California winery for the past decade, and that in 2012, she decided that she wanted more than just a seat on the board of her grandfather’s Francis Ford Coppola Presents businesses. She collaborated with Francis and a winemaking team, led by Corey Beck, to develop wines to reflect her own taste and personality. She also wanted to make sure that the wines were affordable for most budgets; all three retail for $17 a bottle.

Last week in Los Angeles at the official Gia release party, we had a few minutes to catch up with the multi-hyphenate photographer-filmmaker-artist, and now vintner, to talk about her wines, her family, filmmaking and Kanye West. Coppola candidly admitted that while she’s still a wine novitiate, she has a pretty good role model in “grandpa” Francis (who was in attendance at the chic event to support his protégé).

Paste: How did you decide on these three particular wines?

Gia Coppola: I worked with Corey Beck, who’s the winemaker in Sonoma, and I just knew I wanted wines that would appeal to my age group—the kind of lighter wines. I generally do like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio, but I’m still learning so I’m still gauging what I like and what I dislike.

Paste: Did you seek any advice from your family when developing this line?

GC:A lot [from] my grandpa…It was intimidating, but you know my grandpa said, ‘View it as if you’re making your movie. There all the different departments, and take it step-by-step. It’s a collaboration.’

I guess in the end, you just stay true to yourself, and what it is that you like and what you respond to. I know I wanted something targeted to my age group. My friends, when they go to buy wine, they look at the price tag first. I wanted to make a delicious wine, but not too expensive.

Paste: How hands-on were you in the process?

GC:I was very involved in the design aspect. It’s my name, and so I wanted to make sure that I’m being truthful…The design approach was so new to me, so I was always asking my mom, ‘What do you think about this?’

Paste: Your wines are lower in alcohol content and calories. Was that a conscious decision?

GC:I wasn’t worried so much about the calories, but that just came hand-in-hand with the lighter, less sweet wines, and [my emphasis] on something that you can have in the summer, especially.

Paste: I heard you were a mixologist, too.

It’s an interesting culture to me…I love beverages. I always have so many drinks with my meal because I always like to have a sip of everything, even down to coffee, soda and water. [Mixing drinks] is kind of like cooking, but a little more simplistic.

What’s next for you in both film and wine?

GC:I’ve been writing, trying to figure what’s interesting and understand my ideas. And in wine…just keep perfecting this [line]. What’s so great about wine, in comparison to movies, is that movies you finish, and you put it out there, and you can’t touch it ever again. But with wine, you can keep getting better at it, and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can.

Paste: Any advice for Millennials interested in learning more about wine?

GC:That’s what I like about this wine. I feel like it’s kind of a good segue into understanding wine. Mostly when you’re young, you’re just trying to drink to get the buzz or whatever; but [Gia shows wine] can taste good, it’s within a younger person’s budget…and it’s got a screw cap so you can take it to go.

But honestly, it’s all about your own opinion. Just keep trying wine. See what other people respond to and how they like it. I’ve taken classes where you taste all the wines to try to understand the different flavors, but it’s best for me when I just sit with my family and see what they’re saying is a good wine and what they like and dislike.

Paste: Pick any historical or famous figure or celeb for a dream dinner. Who would it be and what kind of cocktails and wine would you serve?

GC:I’m really into Kanye. I really want to meet him. I like what he’s all about. I don’t even know if he drinks wine. But obviously, [I’d serve] Gia, right?

Paste: And cocktail?

GC: I like martinis a lot. I like a gin martini—straight up with just an olive.

Christine N. Ziemba is a Los Angeles-based pop culture writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on “Twitter”: @christineziemba

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