Meet Samuel Hilbert, co-owner of Aluel Cellars in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Samuel and his partner, Alex Oh, started their winery and tasting room in 2016 out of their love and passion for wine. Alex and Samuel live by the standard that they only make wines they love to drink and are inspired by traditional, French-style winemaking. Aluel is focused on limited production of elegant, handcrafted wines that showcase the fruit sourced from some of the top vineyards across Washington state.
Fun Fact: Alex was recently recognized as one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s 2021 Outstanding Voices of Pride!
Learn more about Samuel Hilbert and Aluel Cellars in this week’s Business Spotlight Q&A.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s your favorite part about the neighborhood your business is in and why?
It’s very diverse, there is a lack of diversity in the wine industry. But obviously we opened our tasting room in the heart of Capitol Hill where diversity is some of the highest in the city, especially for the gay community. I mean it’s really part of the history of being gay in Seattle. All of the gay bars were historically on Capitol Hill and the diversity of our neighborhood is fantastic. That’s part of what lead to us starting our Scholar Wine which supports the GSBA scholarship fund, because we really want to support the queer community. That’s been a huge part, and really exciting part of owning a business on Capitol Hill.
Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?
I think a big thing for us is because there’s just not diversity in wine industry, getting the chance to prove that as a queer person, as an Asian-owned business we can be successful will hopefully pave way for more diversity in the industry in the future. And then also, I keep going back to our Scholar Wine but a big part of our business is giving back and we were able to give $5,000 to the scholarship fund in just 6 months thanks to the Scholar Wine. And this year, we hope we’ll be able to do even more because we’ll have an entire year. I think when you #SpendLikeItMatters, when you purchase from small businesses like mine, you can come in and buy even just our Scholar Wine and know that you’re not just giving back to a small business, who maybe can help with diversity in the industry, but you’re also giving back to future leaders with the GSBA Scholarship Fund. Better bang for your buck, 2-for-1.
Who is on your InTENtional List right now?
Cone & Steiner is definitely right at the top of my list, Champion Wine Cellars is a fantastic wine shop in the Greenwood area. Oh and Marination [Ma Kai], I’ve always loved Marination in West Seattle.