Culture & Society News Poland

Francis Ford Coppola vodka named after Polish countess Maria Walewska


Warsaw, Poland – A vodka produced by the wine and spirits brand of award-winning movie director Francis Ford Coppola has been named after the Polish countess and Napoleon’s mistress Maria Walewska.

Polish countess Maria Walewska celebrated by Coppola family

“One of history’s great symbols of purity and loyalty”, Maria Walewska was “known for her beauty and intellect” and “was a fervent Polish patriot and influential during her era as she had the ear of Napoleon,” can we read on the Coppola family’s website.

“The invincible Emperor’s most hard-won battle of seduction finally became his mistress, loyal to him through his decline and final exile.”

Born in 1786, Polish countess Maria Walewska met Napoleon in Warsaw in 1806 when the French Emperor was at the height of his power, and would follow him to Vienna, Paris and even visit him in exile in Elba. Although historians have noted that their mutual affection and love was genuine and transcended politics, she would later describe her decision to give in to Napoleon’s overtures and initiate an affair as a strategic “sacrifice” to influence him into supporting the independence of Poland, then partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria. Historians also speculate she could have played a key role in discussions related to the establishment, in 1807, of the Duchy of Warsaw.

The affair between the Polish countess and French emperor produced an illegitimate son, count Alexandre Joseph Colonna-Walewski, who would later become an influential politician and diplomat in 19th century France. Married twice to Polish count Anastazy Walewski in 1804 and to French general Philippe-Antoine d’Ornano, one of Napoleon’s former top aides, in 1816, Maria Walewska died in Paris in 1817 at the age of 31.

Celebrating trailblazing women in history

The Coppola Countess Walewska premium vodka is part of the acclaimed director’s Great Women Spirits collection designed to celebrate influential, iconic and trailblazing women in history.

The brand also includes the Ada Lovelace Gin, named after Lord Byron’s daughter and one of the first computer programmers in the world; the Hypatia Rubi Amaro Bitters, honouring the famous philosopher of 4th century Egypt; the Dorothy Arzner Rye Whiskey in memory of the trailblazing director of Hollywood’s largely masculine Golden Age; and the Agnesi Brandy, named after the brilliant 18th century mathematician, theologian and philosopher.

The Family Coppola’s Great Women Spirits collection was first launched in 2017.

“My mother, sister, wife, daughter, and granddaughters have all inspired me, as have all of the incredible omen we celebrate with Great Women Spirits,” the acclaimed director of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now said in a statement. “We all know well the great men of history […] I can think of as many women who distinguished themselves at that level in the fields of politics, science, mathematics and philosophy, so my choices and reasons for this collection are very personal.”

Francis Ford Coppola’s wife Eleanor (Paris Can Wait, Love is Love is Love), daughter Sophia (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette) and granddaughter Gia (Palo Alto) are all respected filmmakers.