“BATW the ‘the Godfather’ Team Up in October”

by Robert W. Bone

For their October meeting, members of BATW returned to Sonoma County, this time to the slightly spectacular Francis Ford Coppola Winery on the fringe of Geyserville.

About 35 members and guests found their way to the end of a rural road known as Via Archimedes to reach the moviemaker’s bucolic hillside complex.

The business session preceded an al fresco lunch at a single long table near the bocce ball court. At the meeting, members heard from Debbie Klein of Sonoma Canopy Tours, who described the fun to be had on the new zipline in the redwood forest near the tiny town of Occidental.

Suzy Montes, national sales manager for Sonoma County Tourism, also spoke at the meeting. She confirmed the oft-stated joke that Geyserville offered only a single gas station. But she also reminded the group that Sonoma’s 425 wineries made the county three times the size of the Napa Valley area.

Also at the meeting, BATW President Suzie Rodriguez received applause when she announced that she had recently sold a film option (Right of First Refusal) for her widely acclaimed book on the life of lesbian poet and playwright Natalie Clifford Barney.

Before and after the lunch, members wandered through the expansive winery complex, which features a large outdoor swimming pool and a small museum based on the film career of Francis Ford Coppola.

This included the large desk Marlon Brando used in his “Godfather” role, and a display of Coppola’s Academy Award “Oscars” and similar prizes. In the center of the museum, one of the few Tucker automobiles still in existence rotated on a round platform. The car recalls Coppola’s biographical film on the life of the auto’s namesake, Preston Tucker, who built only a few of the eponymous vehicles in 1948.

The afternoon was capped off by a tasting of several of the Coppola’s wines.

Many thanks to Wendy VanHatten and Suzie Rodriguez, who arranged this fabulous event.