Here’s an interesting note from the road.

A reader with an electric car drove up to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville earlier in the week, knowing that the winery has two public charging stations. But when he got there, all three parking spots with access to those chargers were filled with gas guzzlers. Even though the parking lot had plenty of empty spaces.

He waited 30 minutes for someone to vacate a spot, only to find out that the charge would cost him $2.50 an hour, more than he would have paid for an equivalent amount of gas, he said.

Back at Coppola, General Manager Corey Beck said the charging stations were installed about two years ago as part of the winery’s overall sustainability effort. Plus Francis Coppola owns an EV and needed someplace to charge his own car after driving over from his home in Rutherford.

Beck apologized for our reader’s recent experience, adding that “we have someone monitoring the lot on a regular basis and try to leave at least one spot open. We don’t have good signs on the spots because we have an attendant.”

He promised to have a conversation with the parking lot attendant and get a better answer about the reason behind the winery’s pricing structure. And yes, he said, the hourly rate of an electric charge is $2.50.

We found a few other local wineries with EV chargers, including Benziger Family Winery in Glen Ellen, Clos du Bois in Geyserville, Hudson Street Wineries in Healdsburg, Inman Family Wines and Hall Wines in St. Helena.

Charger use is free to tasting room customers at Hudson and Hall. Chateau Montelena in Calistoga has two chargers, both of which are complimentary, plus the winery throws in free $20 per person tastings to visitors who arrive in electric vehicles.




Be Sociable, Share!



  1. john green

    Hudson Street Wineries (428 Hudson Street – Healdsburg) also offers complimentary charging for tasting room customers. It gets used a lot by the general public, and our tasting room manager and the owner of one of the partner wineries have electric cars and use it almost every day.

    August 30th, 2013 9:22 am

  2. safedriver60

    So he drove from his home to a winery just to charge his car? Don’t electric cars come with chargers? I think the chargers are on private property so what exactly is the point?

    August 30th, 2013 2:03 pm

  3. Cate Caldwell

    What is it with electric car drivers thinking they are privileged. They don’t comp me anything if I walk or ride my bike? They also do not reimburse the gas cost on my 72 Pinto when I rattle it into the Coppola parking lot. You can shove your electric cars as the carbon foot print to make that garbage is greater than that of my beautiful fossil fuel Pinto!

    August 30th, 2013 3:16 pm

  4. VB

    Why is it that EV owners feel they are entitled to free power? Here’s some Fisher Price Math for the EV owner:
    Let’s assume the reader has a 2012 Prius. Based on EPA estimates, (which have been proven to be over stated) the average cost of fuel for a 2012 Prius is $1.78 for every 25 miles he drives. (Most likely higher in Sonoma County.) Assuming he is driving at a constant 60mph for 1 hour, his average cost would be $4.27. At $2.50 an hour for the use of the charging station, the EV owner would have actually saved on average, $1.77 an hour compared to driving a Prius. The EV owner’s premise that $2.50 an hour at the charging station is “more than he would have paid for an equivalent amount of gas” is pure horse feces. Quit complaining, apply your savings to a case of wine, and offer a thank you to Coppola. Your gratitude will do more for your community than your EV could ever hope to.

    August 30th, 2013 7:12 pm

  5. Volt Guy

    Whether the cost to charge is cheaper/costlier then gas depends on the type of charger. A DC super charger (type 3 charger) that cars like the Leaf and Tesla have can get the car to 80% range in as little as 30 mins. These are still pretty uncommon, outside the Tesla super charger stations. In that case 2.50 for a full charge is a great deal, since you are getting 60 miles for the leaf and over 200 for the Tesla.

    For Type 2 charges, that cars such as the Prius and Volt use, will charge roughly 10 miles/hour charged. For the Volt that means up to 4 hours for a full charge that will get you around 38 miles of range. So $10 for 38 miles is clearly a large overprice on the part of the station owner, as it only takes about 13 KWH of electricity to provide the full charge. For a type 2 charging station, anything over a dollar an hour is a ripoff. Since for $4 I can get a gallon of gas that takes me 45-50 miles.

    September 3rd, 2013 1:42 pm

  6. Volt Guy

    In a perfect world you would be paying a premium to drive that 72 pinto to pay for the externalizations of the excessive emissions from a 40 year old death trap on wheels. Sadly we don’t live in a perfect world and trolls like you get to free load on the lungs of the rest of use.

    September 3rd, 2013 1:45 pm

  7. nospam

    we don’t even need a “perfect” world, just one where the oil companies don’t buy our elected officials.

    electricity is currently about 12-13 cents per KWH. a lot less if you have solar as many of these wineries do I’m sure. if it takes 4 hours ($10) for 13 KWH you’re paying $1.30 per KWH. that’s a pretty big hike from 13 cents, TEN TIMES.

    how much do you think Cate in her Pinto would bitch if she rolled into Coppola nearly out of gas and they offered to pump her some regular for $40/gallon? I think the internet would explode… lol

    September 5th, 2013 12:06 pm

Submit Your Comments


Required, will not be published