Chappellet Vineyards

Chappellet Vineyards

The Chappellet family’s romance with Pritchard Hill started more than four decades ago when Donn and Molly Chappellet first glimpsed its magnificent vista of forests and wildflower-filled meadows. Inspired by the notion that Bacchus loves the hills, the Chappellets followed the advice of renowned winemaker André Tchelistcheff and settled on Pritchard Hill’s rocky slopes, becoming the first winery to plant vineyards exclusively on high-elevation hillsides. From these Pritchard Hill vineyards, the Chappellets have been crafting extraordinary, age-worthy wines since 1967.

Pritchard Hill’s rugged terroir has become legendary for producing wines with great intensity and depth—qualities that define the world's finest Cabernet Sauvignons. As a result, Chappellet wines have consistently received the highest praise from critics, and are sought after by the world's premier collectors.

Today, a second generation of the family has joined their parents in embracing the romance of Pritchard Hill. They are passionate about preserving the land and continuing what Donn and Molly began—making extraordinary wines.

When Molly and Donn Chappellet moved to Pritchard Hill in 1967, they had five children and one on the way. As their vineyards have matured, Molly and Donn’s family has grown, and today includes nine wonderful grandchildren, who can often be found playing in the vineyards as their parents did before them.

Recognized as one of the great family-owned and run Napa Valley wineries, the history of Chappellet reflects the passion and commitment of this pioneering family. Through four decades and three generations, the Chappellets have made Pritchard Hill their home, while also establishing it as one of the world’s most revered winegrowing sites. Today, the second generation of the family works alongside their parents to ensure that the winery and vineyards continue to thrive for generations to come.

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. 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.

Described as a designer, landscape gardener, author, photographer, chef and entertainer, Molly Chappellet and her husband Donn, co-founded Chappellet Winery in 1967. Their shared conviction that there was a simpler, more down-to-earth way to rear their family, coupled with their desire to produce award winning wines, brought them to Pritchard Hill.

Born and raised in Beverly Hills, Molly studied art at UCLA and Scripps College. When she moved to Pritchard Hill, her training in art was challenged by bigger canvases and three dimensional opportunities. With acres of land to mold and clients to entertain, she has made her garden and events her artistic pallet. Her work in sculpting the land and painting with flowers, trees and shrubs has earned Molly's spectacular garden acclaim as one of the most unusual gardens in the area.

When she is not tending to her garden, Molly speaks about design and gardening and hosts winemaker dinners around the country.

As Chappellet’s winemaker for nearly two decades, Phillip Corallo-Titus has guided the winery’s storied winemaking program, building on Chappellet’s legacy as one of California’s preeminent producers of Cabernet Sauvignon. A gifted winemaker with a passion for experimentation, Phillip has embraced the diversity of Pritchard Hill to craft benchmark wines that authentically express the terroir-inspired complexity and character of their mountain origins.

Phillip discovered his passion for viticulture and wine at the age of 12 when he began helping his father in the family vineyard. This early exposure to working the vines was complemented at the dinner table, where Phillip’s father would pour French wines from his cellar. Building on this foundation, Phillip studied agronomy, viticulture and enology at the University of California, Davis. A dedicated student of wine, Phillip also traveled to France to learn about the great wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy.

In 1981, Phillip joined the Chappellet team as assistant winemaker, where he spent four years honing his craft and learning about the estate vineyards before pursuing winemaking opportunities at Stratford and Cartlidge & Brown wineries. In 1990, Donn Chappellet invited Phillip to return to the winery as Chappellet’s winemaker, a position he has held ever since.

Working side-by-side with Jon-Mark Chappellet and longtime vineyard manager Dave Pirio, Phillip’s approach to winemaking begins in the vineyard. From his focus on harvesting at ideal ripeness to his emphasis on maintaining the integrity of Chappellet’s numerous vineyard blocks throughout the fermentation and aging process, Phillip strives to make wines that reflect both the vineyard and the vintage.

In the winery, he handles the grapes very gently and uses an array of fermentation, maceration, and cellaring techniques to accentuate and preserve the distinctiveness of each varietal.

In addition to his role as winemaker for Chappellet, Phillip also makes wine for Titus, his family's label. Phillip lives in Napa with his wife, Laura, and their two sons.

Chappellet wines are crafted to embody the terroir and the intensity of fruit that have made Pritchard Hill famous. Recognized for their signature mix of grandeur, power and purity, these coveted bottlings are the result of a winemaking process that begins in the vineyard, and champions its diversity.

With roots deep in the land, and a belief in constantly working to enhance the quality and character of Pritchard Hill’s fruit, Chappellet has earned acclaim for making California’s finest hillside Cabernet Sauvignons. The Chappellet portfolio also includes exceptional Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and the highly regarded Mountain Cuvée blend.

Great wines reflect the complexity and character of great vineyards, and the vision of those who farm them. Rising to 1,800 feet, Chappellet’s Estate Vineyards on Pritchard Hill have been hailed as “Napa’s Grand Cru” and recognized as one of the world’s preeminent sites for growing Bordeaux varietals—in particular Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pritchard Hill presents a rare tapestry of growing environments, and features a variety of elevations, exposures and soil types. The mountainside is farmed as 34 distinctive blocks—including approximately 25 distinct blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon, and plantings of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Chenin Blanc.

Chappellet was one of the first Napa Valley wineries to plant cover crops and adopt no-till farming practices, and today the entire vineyard is farmed organically. From the vineyard team’s commitment to low yields and meticulous canopy management to the Chappellet family’s belief in replanting to augment quality, the cultivation of Pritchard Hill has produced California’s most profound mountain-grown wines.