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Francis Ford Coppola Knighted by French Government

Published:  23 July, 2008

USA: Director of The Godfather trilogy crowned an officer of the Legion of Honour by French Government.

Frederic Desagneaux, the French consul general in San Francisco, pinned a medal on Coppola - a five-time Oscar-winning film director - at the ceremony held in San Francisco

He praised Coppola's contributions to film and wine.

The ceremony was attended by friends, including the Napa Valley legend and Coppola neighbour Robert Mondavi; Berkeley film producer Saul Zaentz (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) and film and sound editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now).

Coppola, talking about his plans to expand his winemaking from Napa into Sonoma County, said: "I felt it was a mistake to be offering the public a good $15 (7.45) bottle of wine and a great $150 (74.53) bottle under the same name. I think many people were confused.

"So splitting the two, and calling one Rubicon Estates and taking my name off it - that's the premium wine from the 250-acres in Napa. The other is Francis Coppola, which is a much bigger company and offers many different wines at popular prices.''

The Legion of Honour was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 as a form of Knighthood and the French president is its Grand Master.

Coppola's first directing effort in a decade, Youth Without Youth, a romantic thriller based on a novella by Mircea Eliad, opens later this year.