As a trained lawyer and skilled mediator, Carissa assists in running the day-to-day operations of Chappellet alongside her brothers, Jon-Mark and Cyril, to ensure the success and long-term sustainability of the family-run winery. Carissa’s unique background allows her to work closely and effectively with the nine Chappellet family members who own the winery to ensure the seamless transition of Chappellet from the first generation of the family to the second generation and beyond. In consultation with her parents, founders Donn and Molly Chappellet, Carissa evaluates and oversees key estate planning and governance issues.
A passionate spokesperson on behalf of Chappellet, Carissa has also earned the title of ambassador-at-large. Traveling throughout the country and occasionally overseas with her life-partner, noted wine expert, writer and radio personality, Archie McLaren, Carissa represents Chappellet at a wide range of industry events. These events include the Napa Valley Wine Auction, the Central Coast Wine Classic, the Telluride Wine Festival, the Sun Valley Wine Auction and many more. Carissa and Archie also enjoy hosting intimate Chappellet wine dinners, both in their home and on the road.
Carissa has also applied her numerous artistic talents to her work on behalf of Chappellet and the wine industry. Her first book, The Romance of California Vineyards, a visual tour of the wine country with photographs by Daniel D'Agostini, was published in 1997. Her second book, The Dragons of Pritchard Hill, is a fanciful history of the Napa Valley through the eyes of her dragons. Each year one of her dragons is featured on the label of Chappellet's Malbec wine Her own photography has been published in A Vineyard Garden, Gardens of the Wine Country, Longhouse, and the “Central Coast Wine Classic Catalog”. Carissa is also well known for her visually spectacular and often-humorous slide shows, which are displayed both at wine dinners and industry functions.
An active member in the wine community, Carissa is on the board of directors for the Central Coast Wine Classic Foundation, and is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors. When not working on behalf of Chappellet, Carissa explores her many areas of interest and expertise, which include playing the mandolin, being a licensed hypnotherapist, a certified massage therapist and an avid cyclist. She is currently working on several writing projects, including a vegetarian food and wine cookbook, and a book recounting her 15,000 mile bicycle trip around the world.
Archie has served as Chairman/Executive Director of both the San Luis Obispo Vintners & Growers Association and the Paso Robles Westside Grand Crew. He is one of only two Americans inducted into the Austrian Wine Brotherhood, and one of the few Americans inducted into the Commanderie des Bontemps - Medoc et Graves & Sauternes et Barsac of Bordeaux in France.
Archie has long been associated with charitable wine auctions. Not only did he serve for many years as the American Institute of Wine & Food’s Rare & Fine Wine and Auction Consultant, he also served as a Director on its National Board. He is the Founder & Chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic, held in high esteem as a prestigious and comprehensive food and wine event, held each year in July and in its twenty-sixth year, which boasts Wine Spectator among its many significant sponsors. Several years ago, Archie received a San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau Annual Tourism Award for his conception and presentation of the Wine Classic.
Archie McLaren is involved in an array of civic activities, both in the arts and in the community in general. He has received the San Luis Obispo Visitors & Convention Bureau’s Annual Tourism Award. He has twice served as the President of the Board of Directors of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival and as a member of the Board of Directors of the San Luis Obispo.