Francis Ford Coppola and Eleanor were at the North Coast Wine Challenge — that is with six degrees of separation.

Corey Beck sat on our panel and the CEO and chief winemaker of Geyserville’s Francis Ford Coppola Winery was happy to answer our questions about the artists in residence … most of them.

With the winners announced this week, kudos goes to Kokomo Wines of the Dry Creek Valley, which snagged the top prize for its Kokomo 2016 Pinot Noir Gopher Hills Block Peters Vineyard Sonoma Coast. The pinot scored the highest points ever awarded in this contest: 100 out of 100. Click here for a peek at all the winners.

While we were searching for those high-scoring wines last week, a day and a half of sipping through a pool of 1012 entries, we learned the winery is working on a concept to allow people to experience its wine, food and entertainment without coming to the physical location.

“The direct to consumer concept will be developed within the next 12 months,” Beck said. “Geographically, it’s not in Wine Country.”

We couldn’t get any more out of Beck on this topic, even after tasting 106 glasses of wine. That said, Beck was more than willing to talk about Eleanor’s remarkable challenge.

During last year’s premiere of Eleanor’s “Paris Can Wait,” Beck said he watched the film and then delighted in what Eleanor told a crowd of 120 people when the lights came up.

“She challenged them to do something out of their comfort zone,” said the forty-seven-year-old Beck. “She wrote, produced and directed the film, beginning at age 78, completing it when she was 80.”

The film follows a trek from Cannes to Paris, one that normally takes seven hours by car, but when you factor in a French romantic all bets are off. Anne (Diane Lane) is married to a successful but inattentive movie producer (Alec Baldwin) and unexpectedly finds herself taking the trip with her husband’s business associate (Armaud Viard). The travelers take time for the finer things in life, extraordinary sights, as well as a sensual feast of food and wine.

For the time being, it appears the muse has gone on sabbatical. Beck said neither Eleanor nor Francis is working on any projects to date. Francis seems to be enjoying his role as vintner, traveling from his Victorian in Rutherford to the Sonoma County winery at least once every two weeks to check in and have lunch at Rustic.

“Francis developed the recipes at Rustic,” Beck said.

He reminded us that Francis grew up in New York in the 1950s where wine was made in the basement.

“Francis’ father and uncle made wine,” Beck said. “California grapes were shipped by rail to Queens.”

The Academy Award winning director, best known for his “Godfather” series and “Apocalypse Now,” has come full circle. Francis couldn’t resist Wine Country, and as we were tasting through the region’s finest, it was good to have Francis, and Eleanor for that matter, at the table, with only six sips of separation.

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