Mr. Donald E. Sodaro created Sixpence Inns of America, a popular hotel chain that eventually spread to six states. Mr. Sodaro then joined the corporation’s board of directors and served on its Audit and Site Acquisition Committee until 1991. Not content to rest on his accomplishments, he founded and is currently a partner in Hanford Hotels, a company that owns hotels throughout California.
Mr. Sodaro and his wife, Deedee, are dedicated supporters of Chapman University among other community organizations that include the World Affairs Council of Orange County, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Santa Ana Country Club.
For 25 years, Mr. Sodaro has been a member of the Chapman University Board of Trustees. He served as board chairman for eleven years and remains on the board as chairman emeritus. In 1991, the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity of Chapman University honored the Sodaros for their generous gift to support the construction of Pralle-Sodaro Hall. The couple also established the Sodaro-Pankey Undergraduate School of Media Arts in partnership with lifetime friends, Edgar and Elizabeth (Libby) Pankey.
Mr. and Mrs. Sodaro founded Sodaro Estate Winery in 1998, driven by a passion for great wine and the beauty of Napa Valley. In their world-wide travels, the Sodaros were able to experience first-hand the gracious design and architecture of France and Italy and to bring some of those elements to their Napa Valley property. The site of their Coombsville Appellation estate formerly held only a run-down house and a defunct chardonnay vineyard. The Sodaros envisioned the place it is today with its beautifully proportioned home, sweeping vineyards and an underground winery cave.
Their collaboration with Jim and Lynne Doti, the Doti-Sodaro Estate 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon took home the gold medal for wines $60 and over at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, which is the largest competition of American wines in the world.