In 1969, the Panoz family moved to Ireland where they formed Elan Corporation, which has become an industry leader in drug delivery products and technology. Elan was the first Irish company to have a public offering in the U.S. market. Today, Elan is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has developed four of the top 100 products in the industry. The company holds more than 100 world-wide patents with one of the most recognizable being the nicotine patch which has helped millions of Americans stop smoking.
The Panoz’s decided to bring the same discipline and high standards that created Elan Pharmaceuticals to the wine industry. The couple visited Georgia frequently since Elan had a research laboratory in Gainesville. During one of their trips, Don and Nancy tasted Muscadine wine, made from indigenous Muscadine grapes. When they asked why no one had ever grown vinifera grapes in the region, they were told, “It can’t be done.”
Now, Château Élan is a 3,500 acre winery and resort in the hills of north Georgia, thirty minutes north of Atlanta. The wines of Château Élan have won hundreds of national and international awards.
Dr. Panoz has recently turned his interest to the world of professional car racing. As owner of Panoz Motor Sports and previous owner of the American Le Mans Series, he has been on his way creating a new racing dynasty.
Mrs. Panoz is a director of Fountainhead Development Corporation, The Legends, and Château Élan. She serves on the board of directors for Wesley Woods, Inc.
Dr. Panoz was a member of the AMEX International Committee, a Director of Portuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Ireland, a Patron of the Irish America’s Cup and a Managing Trustee Board member of the University of Georgia. Don also travels between the Élan operations in Ireland, Europe, the Pacific Rim, and in his spare time, he can be found on one of his current race tracks, Road Atlanta, Mosport in Canada, or Sebring, Florida.
Even though the couple has achieved more success in the business world than most people could ever imagine, the Panoz find that their ultimate reward is the five children and ten grandchildren they cherish.