It would be hard to find words that more accurately describe Avila Beach than a "world above" or "heavenly". The Chumash Indians have a word for it: "Alapay". It seemed a fitting name for Avila Beach's first bonded winery started back in the fall of 2001.
Alapay Cellars history begins with co-owner and winemaker's previous career in the printing business. Raised in Santa Barbara, California where his father was a newspaper publisher, Scott moved to Avila Beach while attending Cal Poly. Graduating in 1986 with a degree in Graphic Communications, he shortly after, opened a printing company in San Luis Obispo in partnership with his father. Business flourished and soon The Printing Connection, as it was known, had carved out a niche printing labels for United States wineries near and far. The pair sold the business in 1999. That's when Scott made the decision to invest his heart and soul in making wine. "The idea of making wine was something I'd had in the back of my mind for some time, but I was really helped along by a couple of really experienced winemakers who were great mentors."
Scott recognized the importance of buying the highest quality fruit possible no small feat when you are new to the industry. No stranger to hard work and persistence, Scott also recognized that by spending a lot of time with grape growers, observing their farming methods and developing relationships based on trust and understanding, he has been able to consistently purchase fruit from some of the Central Coast's premier vineyards. Amazingly, over 12 years later, Scott is still making wine from grapes harvested from some of the exact same rows in the same vineyard he started with back in 2001!
The young winemaker used his dream, a lot of research, and the help of those more experienced in the industry, to build a plan. Two years later, in the fall of 2001, he released 1200 cases of his debut wines; Viognier, Pinot Noir, and Syrah.
The pieces of his dream continued to come together when in the winter of 2002, Scott was introduced to his future wife Rebecca. Having moved to the Central Coast from the San Joaquin Valley where she was a successful Sales/Marketing account executive; then later General Sales Manager for a major radio station for 9 years. When the two met, Scott really needed help with launching the new wine brand both in the tasting room (that wasn't opened yet) and with outside retailers. Rebecca immediately stepped up to the plate and used her sales expertise to sell the wine and open new accounts for Alapay Cellars throughout the state of California. Her marketing skills came in handy when it was time to open the tasting room through promotions and marketing campaigns that would attract customers and increase sales in the tasting room.
It didn't take Scott long to realize that not only had he found a good business partner, but a partner for life as well. Scott and Rebecca married later that year in 2002. Two years after they went on to create their best blend yet, their daughter Tiffany who they welcomed in June 2004. In 2014, Scott and Rebecca celebrated their 12 year wedding anniversary and 13 years of winemaking excellence with Alapay Cellars.
Over the past decade, the winery production has increased to over 5000 cases annually. Meeting the demands of a very popular and busy tasting room (and the ever increasing popularity of Avila Beach) Alapay Cellars relocated its tasting room in 2006 from just 450 square feet, to its current location of nearly 2000 square feet! Wines are now sold exclusively in the tasting room and through the wineries "rock star" level wine club of twice yearly shipments. The owners are adamant about wanting to keep the wines special and developing solid and lasting relationships/friendships with patrons who try their wines in their Avila Beach tasting room.
Rebecca's trademark saying "Come on inâ€¦ the water's wine!" and "Great Tasting Wine without the Attitude" pretty well sums up this wineries future for the next decade and beyond!