The story of Rebel Coast is the story of chance encounters and their ability to drastically alter your life’s path.
Have you ever been introduced to something, an idea, a product, a tool, a way of thinking or even just a sound and thought: “what have I been doing up until now?”
Kind of like the first time you used a squatty potty or Tinder.
That is what happened to a kid named Chip Forsythe. With a clear-cut path ahead, he came to California on a wrestling scholarship with dreams of wearing tight spandex for the rest of his sweaty life.
Now imagine you snuck onto a party bus with a meticulously crafted fake I.D. ready to rage your literal pants off for a weekend in Santa Barbara. Then imagine realizing that it was actually just a regular wine tasting tour following the trail of the film, Sideways. With mid-30’s, mid-corporate-ladder muggles and one babe at best. You would be pretty disappointed! Well not Chipper. Being the infectious, fun-seeking wild man that he is, he became friends with everyone, ended up having a blast and, by his account, he made out with “like seventeen girls!”
That weekend of drinking wine, meeting people and seeing how winemakers lived and worked was all it took for Chip to change his major to wine and viticulture. A pretty brash decision even if the other option (sweat and spandex) was not as charming.
For the next five years, Chip would work at a different vineyard or winery getting the hands-on experience he needed to make wine. At this stage in his life, however, the motivation was 1000% to meet more ladies. After throwing their first party and observing a pretty weak showing of females, they cleverly threw a cheese and wine event. The massive spike in the chart was all the motivation Chip needed to try and become really good at this wine-making thing.
In college, Chip wanted to bring wine back to it’s roots and share it with people, while meeting girls… But after school Chip's driving force became making great wine accessible to everyone. So he set out to make a premium wine of his own.
As it turns out, going from bootlegging wine made under a bridge to a legitimate operation is pretty difficult.
Chip needed some guts and stupidity to make it real. Enter the Vino Cowboy aka Doug Burkett.
At this point in time, Doug was living the American dream working as a bartender in Sacramento, CA while also moonlighting as a professional mechanical bull rider. Chip and Doug’s friendship started at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo a few years earlier but that doesn’t mean it was easy for Chip to steal Doug away from his burgeoning career as a nightlife entertainer and Midnight Bandido. Thirty-seven phone calls later the big man finally gave in to the dream of building a bad-ass winery the world had never seen before.
And so with two grown men sharing a bunk bed in a hotel room, Rebel Coast Winery was born.
As the first months flew by, the two knuckleheads reached new heights after new lows. At one point Chip called Doug to let him know that the month’s sales stood at $350. Doug was over the moon! Until Chip mentioned that their expenses were about triple that. Before the realization could even sink in, the help they so desperately needed came in the form of a serendipitous phone call from a blonde little angel by the name of Kate Seiberlich.
Kate had caught wind of Chip and Doug’s antics and wanted in. A year in the corporate world was enough for Kate to know she wanted no part of it. A rebel to the core, she knew that her skills would serve her better building something from the ground up and be all the more rewarding for it. The phone call went exactly like this:
If you are the type of person who refuses to buy into the bullshit, do things your own way and have a blast while doing it, we are you. We are your peers, your friends and the people who want to see you smile a big wine-stained smile while your closest friends Snapchat your most embarrassing moments.
Cheers to what we all came here for, A DAMN GOOD TIME!
Co-Founders: Chip Forsythe, Kate Seiberlich and Doug Burkett