Born and raised in the Napa Valley, David Pirio has the terroir of the valley in his bones. As the vineyard manager for Chappellet’s Estate Vineyards for a quarter century, the rocky slopes of Pritchard Hill is the terroir Dave knows best. Over the years, he has learned the nuances of every inch of Chappellet's 100 cultivated acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Chenin Blanc.
With elevations climbing from 800 to 1,800 feet, managing the vineyards on Pritchard Hill is an awesome task. Each varietal and each of the mountain’s numerous vineyard sites requires specific care and attention to thrive. Over the past 25 years, Dave has learned the subtleties and sweet spots of each block, and works closely with Jon-Mark Chappellet and winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus to continually improve the quality and flavorful intensity of Chappellet's mountain-grown fruit.
In consultation with Jon-Mark, Dave is also the point person for Chappellet's sustainable farming efforts. Under his direction, Chappellet has become a proving ground for sustainable farming and non-chemical pest management practices. The techniques used by Dave and his skilled, year-round vineyard team keep the vineyards healthy and thriving, while allowing each distinctive block the opportunity to express itself individually. These practices include the widespread adoption of organic farming practices with an emphasis on the use of organic fertilizers, cover crops, bird boxes and on-site composting.
Dave’s background includes training in winemaking as well as vineyard management. Prior to joining Chappellet as vineyard manager in 1983, Dave worked as the assistant viticulturist for Christian Brothers and as part of the cellar team at Grgich Hills. Dave holds a degree in viticulture from the University of California, Davis. He lives in Yountville with his wife Vickie and their two children.