Alis Demers Arrowood
Alis Demers Arrowood has been charming the wine industry since the day she arrived. Originally from Montreal, Alis moved to California to pursue a career in the wine business. When she met husband Richard Arrowood, Sonoma Valley became home. Possessing an undeniable savoir fare, Alis was key to the success of their first winery, Arrowood, and has brought the same inspiring touch to Amapola Creek Vineyards and Winery.
Alis Demers Arrowood was born in Timmins, Ontario, and spent most of her childhood in and around Montreal, Quebec. While attending college there, she interned one summer as a flight attendant with Air Canada. Soon she was flying full-time. “I just liked being on the plane with people,” she recalls. “I didn’t care where it was going as long as I was on board.”
Eventually, Alis moved to Temecula in Southern California, where she met Eli Callaway. He convinced her that she should sell wine. Alis became a “Callaway girl,” part of a unique sales group known for beauty, brains, and a brilliant marketing concept.
Three years later, in 1981, a young winemaker of considerable reputation came by the Callaway table at the first California Wine Experience in San Francisco and invited the Callaway girls to visit him at Chateau St. Jean. Alis fell in love with Sonoma County, and soon moved there, putting her bilingual skills to use as director of hospitality for French-owned Piper-Sonoma Cellars.
Alis and Richard Arrowood married in 1985. That year proved to be an exceptional vintage worldwide, and it was also the very first vintage for another partnership between Richard and Alis—Arrowood Vineyards & Winery.
While Richard stayed on as executive vice president/winemaster at St. Jean, the Arrowoods invested equally to build their own winery six miles down the road in Sonoma Valley. Alis’s duties were many and varied, from dragging hoses in the cellar to hosting guests to traveling cross-country on sales trips. Richard joined her full-time in 1990, and they worked diligently together until Robert Mondavi Corp. purchased Arrowood in 2000.
Again, Richard remained as winemaster, while Alis increased her travel schedule over the following three years. In what spare time they could muster, the Arrowoods built a new residence near Sonoma and planted 20 acres of vines on their property. In 2005 Richard and Alis planned and eventually built Amapola Creek Winery, and Alis continues to be the key to the success of the brand.