Francis Ford Coppola is suing packaging firm Vinocor USA, alleging that its defective bottles and screwcaps ruined 55,000 cases of his new Encyclopedia wine range.
The film director’s wine and leisure company, Francis Ford Coppola Presents, accuses Vinocor USA of an ‘abysmal failure’ to supply bespoke wine bottles and screwcaps for the new range in 2008.
According to court documents filed in Napa County Court, virtually all the 55,000 cases of Encyclopedia wines were ruined or destroyed because of a range of packaging defects, including bent necks, chipped glass and ill-fitting screwcaps.
As a result, the bottles were leaky or allowed oxidation, the action alleges, and Vinocor USA failed to remedy the faults when alerted to them by Coppola.
As well as breach of contract and breach of good faith, the suit accuses Vinocor USA executives Terry Borges and Alberto Oliveira of fraud, alleging that they were ‘reckless and grossly negligent’ in failing to disclose that they could not supply the bottles and screwcaps requested.
Coppola is seeking damages for its losses, as well as punitive damages for fraud, and costs.
Luis Pinto, of Vinocor USA, told decanter.com that Borges and Oliveira had since left the company to form another packaging supplier. He added that the matter had been referred to the company’s lawyers and the company would ‘revert with more news’ in the next few days.
A spokesperson for Francis Ford Coppola Presents said it was company policy not to comment on pending litigation.
According to the court documents, the Encyclopedia range was aimed at educating consumers about how geography, history, food and religion have contributed to the making and enjoying wine.
Coppola searched out varietals from all over the world to represent the different cultures and traditions of wine growing regions, the action says.
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Written by Richard Woodard