Lagunans pair up to create their own wine label

Three Laguna Beach natives are bringing Napa Valley to town with a new wine label.

Purple Corduroy debuted its first varietal in April and is available at several local stores.

The name has parallel meanings: First, for the purple spots on swell maps and how swells are often called "corduroy" due to the linear formation, and secondly, it alludes to the grape and the vineyards.

The business idea came together when Steven Chew, also known as Sli Dawg, introduced friends Brandy Faber, a marketing consultant in the surf industry and winemaker Jeff Farthing — and as they say, the rest was history.

Farthing, 42, has been a wine maker for 12 years. He has a master's in science in viticulture and oenology from Cal State Fresno.

Purple Corduroy's first varietal, Red Siren, a red zinfandel, was bottled in April. It is made to be paired with plates Lagunans love — such as Mexican food, burgers and food off the grill.

Farthing describes it as full-bodied with aromas of dark fruits, such as black plum with notes of black cherry, tobacco and molasses.

Red Siren retails for about $20 a bottle, with prices varying at different restaurants, Faber said in an email.

He said he originally reached out to Chew because he thought combining his wine knowledge and Chew's vision as an artist could lead somewhere.

"I thought it could be something we could laugh about someday," Farthing said of his initial ideas about the project.

However, the guys weren't expecting that the varietal would sell out in its first bottling. Farthing said he's had to double the orders since they unveiled Red Siren in April.

"It's taken off," Chew, 41, said. "I've been tripping out on the response. It's so great."

Although Faber and Chew don't have a background in the industry, they connect to wine in different ways. Chew has traveled to France and Northern California with Farthing, where he educated him on grapes and the process. He also joked that he used to pillage his father's cellar when he was younger. Faber pointed to their mutual experiences as surfers, which took them all around the world.

"As surfers, you travel to a lot of places that happen to be some of the best wine regions in the world," he said, mentioning France, Argentina, Australia, South Africa and Chile as examples. "When the waves were dead, we'd check out the local juice."

The company is solely run by the trio, who do everything from the actual brewing, bottling, corking and shipping, to marketing and design. Farthing, who lives in Lodi where the wine is made, is wine director. Chew, who designed the label, is creative director and Faber, also a director, handles the business side of things.

"It's been nothing but 100% fun so far," Faber, 42, said. "I'm sure we'll experience growing pains at some point but they'll be good ones."

A second white varietal is on its way, but it's still being tweaked. Farthing said it will be a varietal that will pair well with plates Californians often eat, like ethnic foods such as Thai, Mexican or Japanese. Faber said they hope to have it out in February.

Purple Corduroy's wines can be found at La Sirena Grill in South Laguna, Olamendi's, Dizz's As Is and the Wine Gallery in Laguna and in Corona del Mar. For more information, visit

Twitter: @joannaclay

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