Nearly ten years ago, Alex Oh arrived at Golden Gardens Park with a bottle Entre-deux-Mers to see that his future life and business partner Samuel Hilbert had also brought a bottle of rare wine to their first date.
“We really bonded over wine,” said Alex. “Ever since then, wine has been in our lives. It’s a joint passion for both of us. It’s something that we love deeply and want to share with the rest of the world.”
In 2012, Alex and Samuel forged their names together to lay the groundwork for GSBA’s 2018 New Business of the Year
, Aluel Cellars
, with “Al” standing for Alex and “-uel” for Samuel. That same year, they produced their first vintage and began the process of creating their signature line of wines. Four years later, the couple opened their tasting room nestled on Thomas St. in the bustling core of Capitol Hill, and began selling bottles to the public.
While Samuel and Alex pour and sell in one of the most modern neighborhoods in the city, Aluel’s wines thrive on an old-world approach to winemaking, incorporating fruits made from some of the finest vineyards in the state.
“When a lot of people think about winetasting, they think about going out to wine country,” said Samuel. “But we wanted to bring our wines to one of the most urban, hip locations in the city where it’s very accessible to the everyday person.”
Even before opening their tasting room in December of 2016, Samuel and Alex became GSBA members and have been heavily involved with the community since, partnering with GSBA to provide wine at events such as EQUALUX: Taste of GSBA.
“GSBA represents to us a community of like-minded individuals who believe in equality and diversity, and that (those things) are good for business,” said Alex. “Equality is really important to Aluel because it means that we can bring our whole, authentic selves into everything that we do."
Samuel points towards a lack of diversity within the wine industry as an opportunity for Aluel to champion representation not only as an LGBTQ-owned business, but as one co-owned by one of the Pacific Northwest’s only Asian-American winemakers.
“As a minority-owned winery, we really think it’s important for us to be out in front and to pave the way for the many other LGBTQ winemakers that come after us. We want to share that with our community,” said Alex.
Join us in honoring Aluel Cellars during Justice For All: 38th Annual Business & Humanitarian Awards Dinner on Thursday, Feb 21 at Seattle Marriott Waterfront: http://bit.ly/2Rzxo3i