Interstate United Corp. Founder Donn Chappellet Dies At 84

Posted On: 5/27/2016

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Donn Chappellet
ST. HELENA, CA -- Donn Chappellet, who established one the largest postwar vending operations and later became a celebrated wine producer, died on May 22 at his home here. He was 84.

In the mid-1950s, Chappellet cofounded Interstate United Corp. (Chicago), which he helped turn into the third-largest national vending and coffee operation in the United States. At its peak, Interstate United had more than 8,000 employees and a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

When he was 34 in 1966, Chappellet sold his shares in IUC and left the vending industry to pursue his passion for wine. He started the Chappellet winery in 1967 and built it into one of Napa Valley's most acclaimed brands. He is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of Napa's modern era, and his cabernets became legendary.

He is survived by his wife, Molly; his sister, Sybil; his six children, Lygia, Cyril, Carissa, Jon-Mark, Alexa and Dominic; 11 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.