Archie McLaren is no stranger to the world of fine cuisine and rare wine. He is the founding Bailli of the Central Coast Chapter of the Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, a member of the Vintners’ Club of San Francisco, the Wine & Food Society of San Francisco, the San Francisco Chapter of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin and the Marin County Chapter of the International Wine & Food Society. He is the former Cellarmaster of the Avila Bay Wine Society and the former President of the Central Coast Wine Society.
Archie has served as Chairman/Executive Director of both the San Luis Obispo Vintners & Growers Association and the Paso Robles Westside Grand Crew. He is one of only two Americans inducted into the Austrian Wine Brotherhood, and one of the few Americans inducted into the Commanderie des Bontemps - Medoc et Graves & Sauternes et Barsac of Bordeaux in France.
Archie has long been associated with charitable wine auctions. Not only did he serve for many years as the American Institute of Wine & Food’s Rare & Fine Wine and Auction Consultant, he also served as a Director on its National Board. He is the Founder & Chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic, held in high esteem as a prestigious and comprehensive food and wine event, held each year in July and in its twenty-fourth year, which boasts Wine Spectator among its many significant sponsors. With revenues exceeding $1,000,000, the Central Coast Wine Classic is one of America’s most successful charity wine auctions. The Central Coast Wine Classic not only promotes the wine, culinary and hospitality industries, it also confers substantive proceeds upon a continually expanding number of healing, performing and studio arts organizations on the Central Coast of California, specifically in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.
Archie has assisted in launching charity auctions in Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Mendocino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara. His partner in life, Carissa Chappellet, an owner of Chappellet Winery in the Napa Valley and the winery’s ambassador, and he have served as Chairs of the WYES Public Television Auction in New Orleans and are frequent donors to charitable wine auctions throughout the United States.
In addition, with Brian Talley, he co-founded the extremely popular World of Pinot Noir. In 2007, he directed and was the auctioneer for the Pinot Plus Auction, the Carneros Wine Alliance’s inaugural Carneros Appellation wine and lifestyle tasting and auction, and was auctioneer for the 2007 and 2008 Lake County Wine Auction.
Archie is frequently invited to attend tastings of rare and collectible wines throughout the country and has participated in comprehensive vertical tastings of Chateaux d’Yquem, Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Cos d’Estournel, Leoville Las Cases and Cheval Blanc, as well as La Tache, Hermitage La Chapelle, Penfolds Grange, Vega Sicilia Unico, and Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour Private Reserve, among a number of others. A long-time Champagne aficionado who has attended many tastings of rare Champagnes, he was Founder and Director of the International Festival of Methode Champenoise.
On San Luis Obispo & Santa Barbara Public Radio KCBX, Archie hosted a fine wine program, the Wine Drinker’s Guide to Indulgence, for twenty-three years (He continues to host an occasional show), and has been a writer on fine wine for Adventure’s in Dining, the San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune, New Times and Santa Barbara Magazine.
His education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University, a Juris Doctor of Law degree from the University of Memphis, and post-graduate studies in Humanities, English Literature and International Marketing at various universities.
Archie McLaren is involved in an array of civic activities, both in the arts and in the community in general. He has received the San Luis Obispo Visitors & Convention Bureau’s Annual Tourism Award. He has twice served as the President of the Board of Directors of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, and as a member of the Board of the San Luis Obispo County Arts Council. He was the Chairman of the Avila Beach Front Street Enhancement Committee that designed the promenade and park for the rejuvenation of the community of Avila Beach and for many years was Chairman of the committee that approves new projects for Avila Beach prior to their being approved at the county level.
His many accomplishments have resulted in his continuing inclusion in Who’s Who in Media & Communications, Who’s Who in the West, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
Archie McLaren and writer, painter, photographer, musician, adventurer, Carissa Chappellet, live in Avila Beach, Big Sur, and St. Helena, California, where they enjoy hiking, bicycling and a variety of water and court sports, as well as raiding their wine cellar for special occasions with family and friends.