New owners aim to get Wine Seller noticed

Morro Bay Wine Seller, open for more than 10 years, is tucked inside Marina Square at 601 Embarcadero — effectively a hidden destination for loyal club members and savvy wine-seeking visitors on the waterfront.

But new owners Ley and Rachelle Vaughn intend to make it more visible.

They’re expanding the wine tasting and retail sales business built up by former owners Chris and Vicki Battles. And they’ve undertaken a major remodel to increase their visibility and storefront access — which they’ll showcase next month in a special celebration.

Besides adding an entrance next to Marina Square’s courtyard, they’re creating a lounge where patrons can sample wine and enjoy the harbor view, and they’ve added more seating in the wine bar. They will continue to sell cheeses and meats with wine tasting, Ley Vaughn explained.

“And we are dog friendly!” Vaughn said, noting that many people travel with their dogs.

The Vaughns are new to wine sales ownership, but are far from novices as wine connoisseurs. Vaughn spent 23 years shooting television news. Also a television news veteran, Rachelle, who goes by Rachelle Murcia, co-anchors weekdays at KGET-TV (NBC) in Bakersfield.

“Learning about wines has been our avocation since we met and married while working together in Las Vegas,” Vaughn said. “Being in the news business we’ve learned everyone has a story. Our guests love to hear the story behind the wines — learn about the winemakers. If they like the taste of a preferred pinot or zin, they will buy the wine because they like it, but will remember and buy it again because they know the backstory. I’ve been on a crash course since August to learn the stories behind our Central Coast wines.”

The couple began their wine education in Las Vegas while producing television packages about chefs and sommeliers.

They continued to learn about wine while working at an ABC affiliate in Seattle. Tasting rooms were popping up all over the area and the couple would often be assigned to interview winemakers at their vineyards.

When they returned to California, they purchased a ouse in Bakersfield and remodeled it to include a den with a temperature-controlled wine cellar. Googling equipment and furniture to decorate the den, Murcia noticed Morro Bay Wine Seller was for sale. Growing up in Frasier Park, Vaughn had vacationed in Morro Bay regularly. He drove over to check out the opportunity and closed the deal Aug. 14. Now he spends days behind the bar telling wine stories. For more, go to www.facebook.com/wehavewine.