Rutherford is one of those unassuming places when you arrive by car or on a bus tour. There are miles of fields, and nothing much to speak of in the way of destination shopping centers. There are some stores, two hotels and many wineries you can visit and tour.
What stands out about Rutherford is the quality within the tight-knit community. From the wines grown by the likes of the Grgich family to the estate honoring the region's founding vintner, Rutherford is filled with heart & soul that you only get to know by visiting and taking the time to explore. The family-run businesses create products with passion, and some have come to a realization that time is money.
Rubicon Estate: Owned by Francis Ford Coppola, he renamed the estate built in 1888 to honor Gustave Niebaum. Coppola purchased the former home and adjoining vineyard of Gustave Niebaum located in Rutherford, California in 1975 using proceeds from the first movie in the Godfather series. He sought a vacation home where he could escape and make some wine like his father did in the homeland. The estate was larger than what he anticipated acquiring, but when he read the story of the immigrant Gustave Niebaum who also made a fortune (in the fur-trade) and turned that profit into another business, creating a successful winery and brand, Coppola decided the estate was more than just a place to escape. He wanted to continue its legacy and honor the man who built the empire.
Things to see and do in Rutherford include visiting the community's 13 wineries all offering tours: Beaulieu Vineyard, Grgich Hills, HALL Rutherford, Midsummer Cellars, Mumm Napa, Peju Province, Winery Provenance Vineyards, Rubicon Estate Staglin Family Vineyard, ZD Wines, Rutherford Grove Winery, Rutherford Hill Winery and St. Supery Vineyards & Winery. See List of Rutherford Wineries
The wineries are where you'll spend your money in Rutherford, no doubt. Many of the tours are inexpensive, but several now cost $25 and up. The majority of sales in Rutherford are wine sales, naturally, and for lovers of fine wines, you've come to one of California's premier wine regions.Located in the middle of the Napa Valley wine region and often mentioned in association with another nearby community, Oakville, Rutherford offers some of Napa's most scenic fields and meadows. Many consider Rutherford as the best place in the world to grow cabernet grapes. Bottom land soil of Rutherford and nearby "Oakville dust" are credited with helping provide the perfect conditions for these popular grapes.
Mayacama Mountains are to the west and the Howell Mountains to the east, with Rutherford landscapes and panoramas enjoyed by those who pay hundreds of dollars per night to stay at Auberge du Soleil, a resort perched on Rutherford Hill and featuring 50 rooms and suites, each with its own terrace overlooking the vine-studded valley. Places such as Auberge du Soleil (roughly translated as Inn of the Sun), today encourage a concept of retreat from the daily routine. It's wonderful to have such places to escape to, yet many of the wineries along this region rely on the capital and teamwork of family members.
From the husband-wife team of Director Francis Ford Coppola to the father-daughter duo of Michael Grgich, tightly knit families become immersed in the wine business and look to their personal support systems for help in everything from marketing to management.