Sonoma with Kids: Swim at Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Are you dreaming of a wine tasting adventure in Northern California’s wine country but think it’s not doable with the kids? You couldn’t be more wrong! The ultimate family-friendly wine country excursion is just a short drive from Hilton Sonoma Wine Country. Welcome to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery!
The place looks like a chateau and to access it, you must climb what is called, “The Grand Staircase.” It’s a little bit Hollywood; a little bit Europe and whole lot of family fun sits right inside its gates.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery Pool
My kids weren’t all that thrilled about going to a winery but they had a quick attitude reversal when they saw the pool scene here! As the story goes, the award-winning film director had seen children playing around the fountain at Napa’s Inglenook Winery for years, pleading with their parents to allow them to jump in. Sympathizing with the youngsters, when he built his own winery he thought, “Gee, the kids will want to go swimming, so let’s have swimming pools.” The result is two pools totaling 3,600 square feet connected by a waterway lined by inviting fountain spouts that are so much fun to play in.
Pool Package and Pass Options
You must reserve your pass for the Francis Ford Coppola Winery pool in advance online. When making pool reservations at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, there are two options to choose from:
1. The Cabine Package which includes:
- Pool access for 4 people
- Pre-selected seating on the pool deck — that’s right, there’s no need to worry about getting a chair or looking angrily at a never occupied towel draped chair from your spot on the ground because this package includes 4 chaise lounge chairs.
- A cabine equipped with a private shower, 4 towels, up to 4 Sofia Mini wine singles or smoothies, a deck of Coppola playing cards, and a copy of Zoetrope: All-Story magazine, which received the National Magazine Award for Fiction
For those not in the know, a cabine is a European changing room located poolside. Only the party reserving it has access to it. We found it to be a terrific place to stow all of our gear and even charge our phones while we enjoyed the pool area.
2. An Individual Pool Pass:
- Accommodates 1 person (required for children 3 years of age and older)
- Day use of 1 towel
- Use of public showers and locker rooms
- Seating area on the lawn or in white bistro chairs on the pool deck, reserved for the use of pool pass guests
The individual pool pass does not include a chaise lounge chair, and space is limited. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis.
OTHER ACTIVITIES IN THE Francis Ford Coppola Winery POOL AREA
- Four regulation Bocce courts are located near the pool, so challenge the family to a game!
- Should the kids need a break from the sun, have them pop into the teepee just below the pool area. It is loaded with books ready for perusing.
Dining at the Winery
While there are two restaurants on site, the Pool Cafe and RUSTIC, the winery’s full-service restaurant, we dined poolside during our visit. We munched on house made potato chips and seasonal fruit. One of my kids enjoyed cheese pizza while I went for the quarter sized order of the Muffuletta, a popular sandwich originating among Italian immigrants in New Orleans. Our server told me that she waited on two men who requested a full order of the sandwich to share and couldn’t finish it. So let that be lesson sandwich lovers, when the options for ordering a sandwich are quarter size, half, or full, the full is going to be one blessedly big sandwich!
Every avid movie lover knows of the Coppola’s connection to the film industry so naturally there is a gallery of movie memorabilia to enjoy including the car from Tucker starring Jeff Bridges, the desk from The Godfather, and the giant neon martini glass featured in One From the Heart.
My 10-year-old son was taken with the two large ships that made an appearance in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette movie. Apparently they were floated in the fountains of Versailles to reenact a battle. They were so intricate, he loved looking at them and declaring them, “Pirate Ships.”
Wine and other TASTINGS
More than 40 wines are produced on the property which means there are many tastings and experiences to choose from, but wine isn’t the only beverage your family can sample. There’s a Kids Smoothie Tasting on weekends where children can learn how to experience different flavors as well as the smells of seasonal fruits. The winery’s Smoothie Expert (show of hands, who would love to have that job title?) blends the season’s bounty of fruits into delicious and unique smoothies, from which the kids can guess the flavors.
So you see, Francis Ford Coppola Winery has this family-friendly winery scene nailed. No more excuses, get yourself to the wine country!
You may also enjoy:
- 5 Best Day Trips from San Francisco
- Day Trips from San Francisco – Muir Woods and Sausalito
- Cross the Golden Gate Bridge for a Great San Francisco Day Trip
- Read all of our articles about family vacations to San Francisco
Kristine’s family received a complimentary a Cabine Package to facilitate this article, but she was not asked to express any particular opinion. All of the thoughts expressed are her own.
Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.
Kristine lives in Mountain View, California, where she is the mother of a gifted girl athlete and a special needs charmer. Like almost everything in her house,…