Rebel Coast Winery
“Incredibly genuine marketing is what the wine world is desperate for, and we have built a cult following around being genuinely stoked on life.” Chip Forsythe
Preparing to launch their newest wine, Lost by Choice, Rebel Coast Winery, is a brand in Paso Robles started by three founders who speak the same language. They know who their market is and expertly, precisely cultivate it. They don’t follow trends but create them. Their brand is more push-pull marketing tactics. They push your buttons, your senses, your sensibility and provoke. A strategy making you want to be more like them (that’s the pull side). Except, maybe you’re not as cool as you used to be and that’s okay. There’s room for you too. Genius!
Rebel Coast is the creation of one Chip Forsythe, CEO & Founder, his partner, Doug Burkett and co-founder Kate Seiberlich. These friends (who coincidentally share a house together), are joined by a shared vision and a drive to do and be something different. Today, they are well on their way and living one exceptional adventure. One that includes a solid foundation of mid-priced wines and the launch of something special. Read on…
I asked Chip to give us some insight into their story. It’s an interesting perspective and certainly food for thought on why more people should defy convention and travel a wildly brilliant road. It’s fun. It removes the intimidation many have with wine and you can be your own damn rebel!
“Sometimes you have to make an awkward phone call to an ex at 7 am asking them to overnight a change of clothes and a life-size hamster costume down to you in Santa Barbara because of a dumb bet you lost.”
The Wine Siren (TWS): What has surprised you most about the winemaking journey?
Chip Forsythe: Honestly the terminologies. There is a certain size you reach, and your wine becomes a “product”, and instead of a winery you are “supplier”. I don’t know why but when someone says that it always bugs me. I am always correcting folks in the industry when they call my wines “products.” lol
TWS: You’re called Rebel Coast Winery. Who is the rebel who has influenced you the most and inspired you to go against “the grain”.
Forsythe: Really tough one. As far as people I have only been able to read about, both Theodore Roosevelt and Elon Musk. Those two knew what they wanted and figured out how to make it happen. As far as people I interact with daily; I would say, my brother. We went to college together, and I don’t know where our competitive disdain for authority comes from, but for some reason, we always have a different approach to situations. Sometimes it works out for us, and sometimes you have to make an awkward phone call to an ex at 7 am asking them to overnight a change of clothes and a life-size hamster costume down to you in Santa Barbara because of a dumb bet you lost.
TWS: Three founders (two guys, one chica) living in the same house is a pretty intriguing situation. How do you maintain harmony?
Forsythe: Wine. Lots of wine. Hahaha, no but we have most of our team living with us now. But we really all get along, and kind of miss each other when someone does not come into the office for a day. Everyone is a really fun person so that many of us together makes waking up very enjoyable.
“I know everything we do seems very alcohol soaked, but we spend enormous amounts of time creating wines that are easy to pronounce and are relatable.”
TWS: On the Rebel Coast website, it claims to be an erotic novel. Does this have anything to do with your current living situation?
Forsythe: Yes. (That’s all I can legally say, I think).
TWS: Chocolate. Which wine do you pair with chocolate and what is your preferred chocolate?
Forsythe: Red wine: Kinder. White wine: Kinder. Basically, Kinder, it is the best chocolate ever created. Our newest wine Lost by Choice is for sure. No joke every case has 6 different front labels in it.
TWS: How did you build your following, your people, your tribe, the Rebel community?
Forsythe: When we started this we knew we wanted to build a brand we can live. There is no grand marketing scheme to reach a certain demographic. It’s us going out on the weekends and having a blast. Incredibly genuine marketing is what the wine world is desperate for, and we have built a cult following around being genuinely stoked on life.
TWS: What is the biggest challenge you see with your business in the coming year?
Forsythe: Our goal is to double in size every 12 months, so giving all the people that carry our wines the attention they deserve is incredibly time-consuming. Fun, but time-consuming.
TWS: Looking at the wines you currently make, what is your favorite and why?
Forsythe: Our newest wine Lost by Choice is for sure. No joke every case has 6 different front labels in it. Every label is our artist rendition of a photo of us doing something fun. It sums up what we are doing with our lives so entirely it is awesome.
TWS: Who inspires you in the wine space?
Forsythe: Honestly, all the guys that I worked with at Crush Pad. Crush Pad went under and 6 different guys from there went off and we all started different wineries. It was an unintentional incubator for future winery owners. It was really interesting to watch everyone approach the same goal differently.
TWS: When will you know if you’ve “made it”?
Forsythe: When I don’t have to introduce myself when I walk into a room I guess.
TWS: I love the names of your wines (From Sunday Funday to Reckless Love). How do you come up with them?
Forsythe: Life, former girlfriends, and beer helped us come up with then all. I know everything we do seems very alcohol soaked, but we spend enormous amounts of time creating wines that are easy to pronounce and are relatable.
TWS: When you’re not drinking Rebel Coast, what do you drink?
Forsythe: Tough tough one. Depends on the time of day and who I’m with. If we are at the ranch, Coors. If I am day drinking there is this epic 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from NZ called Open Kimono NZ that is perfect, serious smells like Guava and happiness. (I am drinking a glass right now). If $omeone el$e is buying, Hundred Acre by Jayson Woodbridge.
TWS: Is the business of Rebel Coast as difficult as you anticipated?
Forsythe: The business is not, we are selling something enjoyable that folks want instead of need. BUT running a business is. There is a lot of behind the scenes things that need to happen that college can’t prepare you for, you just have the learn on the fly. A good team makes it run a lot smoother though.
TWS: What do you consider your landmark success in the winemaking space?
Forsythe: Right now it is honestly making 15,000 people a month happy with Rebel Coast. Everyone in this industry got into it because it is fun, and we have not lost sight of that. Every day we get to bring people together, and its really really fun.
Tasting notes: Lost by Choice, the latest release courtesy of Rebel Doug.
Zin blend plays nice with tannins. Medium bodied, with a velvety mouth feel, followed by the bright red fruit of raspberries and cherry. A touch of white pepper and vanilla. Everyday wine.
Note from Doug: P.S. THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO DESCRIBE A WINE! 🙂 This writer agrees. Do you?