Rebel Coast began when two brothers from Texas moved to California for college. They landed on the Central Coast and discovered the sweet nectar of wine.
The brothers quickly found out how expensive it was to drink decent wine. So with no money in their bank accounts to continue the nightly ritual of drinking. Sonoma’s finest, they decided to try and make some wine in their backyard. Getting the grapes was easy. As it turns out, vineyards have pretty much no security at night. The brothers would just back up a pickup truck and fill it with grapes before the picking crews would come through in the mornings.
The first vintage was barely drinkable, but it had alcohol in it, so whatever. Chip really liked the whole process, so he changed majors and started studying winemaking at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. He also needed money, so he started working harvest in the cellar at local wineries. The boys only made one barrel of wine to begin with, but as school went on, more and more people heard about the backyard-born trashcan wine and began asking the brothers for more.
The next year the brothers stole some more grapes and made 2 barrels; one to drink and the one to sell. You have to remember it was still barely drinkable, but it was getting better. Because the operation was growing, the brothers went around asking local wineries to donate any extra bottles and corks they had to the “cause”. It was a really rag tag vintage. The next 3 years went on in the same way; working harvest, stealing grapes and bootlegging wine. The best part was that the wine kept getting better and better every year.
By the time graduation came around, it was time to either go legit or work for someone else. And that is when Rebel Coast Winery was born.
It was an interesting start to say the least, but the first vintages (from the now barely-legal Rebel Coast) turned out great and put us on the map. So basically the Rebel Coast guys made a bunch of wine and now needed to sell it… to REAL people.
That was when Chip tricked Doug into quitting his real job to go around knocking on peoples’ doors in hopes that they’d want to buy some wine. Surprising as hell to the boys’ fathers, the wine sold out fast and Rebel Coast kept growing. That was when Kate forced her way into the group with her good looks and big fancy words.
These three learned fast that no one could sell their wine better than themselves, so they started to build an in-house sales team in California. The three of them have grown Rebel Coast from an idea into one of the best wines to come out of Sonoma (according to Chip’s mom).
At Rebel Coast we know what it takes to sell our wine; every single person in our operation still sells daily. We have grown to a team of 15 people in California selling our wine, and are growing our core team every day. We will do everything we can to help build a cult following around our wine.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We earned our first sales by literally walking around with our wine from store to store selling it. Then once we started getting traction we realized that we had to start a sales team and a website. 95% of our sales are through our reps and about 5% are online sales. But the website is what makes us official to people!
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
We use shopify product reviews, chimpified, fliptabify, spently, imajize, storemapper. I think thats it. As for shipping an fullfillment we use Napa Pack n Ship out of Napa, CA for our shipments online.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Use the help of the shopify gurus, they have been such a great help to me and our business. I didn't know a thing about making or building a website but thanks to them I got all the tools and support I needed.