David Francke has been named managing director of Chappellet, a 52-year-old winery in upper Napa Valley.
After serving on the board of directors for the St. Helena-based family winery since 2017, the Chappellet family picked him to run the Pritchard Hill estate. He has been a trusted strategic adviser on the board, according to the announcement May 30.
He oversees sales and marketing including direct-to-consumer initiatives, hospitality, strategic planning, and operations in the vineyard and winery.
“The Chappellet family’s integrity, love for the land, and unwavering commitment to quality have made Chappellet one of the most revered family-run wineries in the world,” Francke said in the announcement. “What they have created is one of the great treasures of Napa Valley. I am honored to play a role in contributing to the Chappellet story to help ensure that our next fifty years is as dynamic and successful as the first half century.”
After studying at University of Kansas and University of Bordeaux, Francke began his career in wine sales in Kansas City. He then went to work at Robert Mondavi Winery, where he rose to general manager and vice president.
After the sale of Robert Mondavi Corp. to Constellation Brands in 2004, Francke spent two years as senior vice president and general manager for Mondavi's The Estates Group. Michael Mondavi recruited him to help establish Folio Fine Wine Partners. There, he achieved robust year-after-year growth as managing director, while establishing an acclaimed European wine portfolio.
Prior to Chappellet, Francke was chief marketing and sales officer for Purple Wine + Spirits and a business adviser for Shirlaws, where he helped establish a wine division for the global consulting firm.
“Great wineries stay dynamic and relevant because they learn and evolve,” said Chairman Cyril Chappellet in the announcement. “They infuse new energy and ideas, while respecting what has come before. David is a trusted friend and a visionary wine executive. He will help build on our family’s legacy, while honoring and preserving the values and ideals that have defined Chappellet for more than 50 years.”
Chappellet celebrated 50 years in 2017 and this year it debuted the new Chappellet Grower Collection, which features cool-climate chardonnay and pinot noir wines from several Sonoma County vineyards.