One of my most surprising discoveries at the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (detailed report in a few days) was not a new alligator gumbo, praline flavor or cajun spice blend— it was my first tasting/sighting of acclaimed film director and California wine maker’s FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA’s new collection of European wines. Hadn’t heard boo about it here in California, but it created quite a stir in New Orleans as his new imported line, ENCYCLOPEDIA, is quite a departure from his usual offerings.

1. It is called ENCYCLOPEDIA because they have hand-selected wines from around the world to help you discover how wine is enjoyed and influenced by a country’s culture,geography, history, food and religion.

2. They are opening with a very tight line of only 4 wines: Cabernet Sauvignon from France, Pinot Grigio from Italy, Tempranillo from Spain and Riesling from Germany. I sampled the Riesling and thought it was a great balance of fruit flavors, with a touch of spice and minerals and a hint of sweetness complemented by some nice acidity.

3. Kitschy flask-shaped bottles are being used with brightly colored screw caps with a color-coordinated map for the label.

4. ENCYCLOPEDIA is being heavily marketed to the “millennial’s.” It will use trendy marketing by generating on-line buzz through lifestyle websites and events. Their website will not only offer wine-drinking anecdotes and vineyard critiques from all over Europe but also has videos , photos, and travelogues supplied by some mysterious ” Nick” person, surrounding each wine.