Donn Chappellet's passion for fine wine led him to move his family from Beverly Hills to the magnificent rocky slopes of Pritchard Hill in 1967. One of the first of a new wave of vintners to arrive in the Napa Valley during the late '60s, Donn's mission was to create world-class wines that mirrored the great first growth Bordeaux.
A 4th generation Californian, Donn was born in Los Angeles and educated at Pomona College. In 1954 Donn co-founded Interstate United Corporation, a food service business. The company, which distributed the first vending machine to make fresh coffee from grounds, became the third largest in the industry, with clients in 38 states, 7,000 employees and a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. After 14 years of running the business, Chappellet decided it was time for a change of pace and a change of venue; he sold his shares and turned toward his passion, wine.
The premise that "Bacchus loves the hills" led Donn to seek out the Pritchard Hill vineyard on the eastern slope of the Napa Valley that his family now calls home. His move to the hills was a bold one; Chappellet was one of the first to pioneer high elevation hillside planting. The intensity of the fruit grown on Pritchard Hill proved his intuition was right. Donn believes that his vineyards, with their volcanic soil and the warm, dry temperatures of Pritchard Hill contribute both strength and character, the essence of truly great wine. Still involved in winery operations on a day-to-day basis, Donn finds great joy in working with his children and guiding them as they strive to continue his legacy - making extraordinary wines that express the unique growing conditions on Pritchard Hill.