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Meet Shane Semler and Kate Keegan-Cook of Malibu Wine Hikes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shane Semler and Kate Keegan-Cook.

Shane and Kate, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
The history of Malibu Wine Hikes starts from the moment I was born. The Ranch and Vineyard that our hikes and wine tasting takes place belongs to my family and it is where I have grown up my whole life. The ranch has an incredibly rich history from agriculture to Chumash Indian pictographs. The property has held a special place in my life and a couple years ago I wanted to start a business that kept me close to such a special place. Before the hikes I was working at a Sales position in an office in North Hollywood. I was missing the outdoors and the joy of interacting with people. My family was already selling wine from our vineyards, and I decided to incorporate the wine with one of my favorite activities, hiking.

Together with my fiancé, Kate Keegan-Cook, we started Malibu Wine Hikes.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest challenge was getting people to change their perception about paying to hike. When most people think of hiking they think of a free activity. I could not agree more that hiking, in its essence is free. However, this hike has some amazing value added benefits that justify the price. The two main reasons are that you get to interact with exotic animals and drink wine. When done on their own, these two things usually cost money. I also believe our plan to hire really fun, interesting and smart guides has paid off and really justified the fact that people are paying to hike. People come to exercise and have a glass of wine but they leave with new friends and some cool local knowledge and history about the Santa Monica Mountains.

Please tell us about Malibu Wine Hikes.
As far as I know we are the only company in Southern California that offers hiking and wine tasting. I have heard of a few in Napa but they are only part of the larger tours and experiences of those wineries. Since we have a focus on one thing we really strive to make that experience the best it can be. We start by finding the best guides that have a great knowledge base and are incredibly personable. I think it is the people that make your company successful and since our guides are the ones interacting and hiking with our guests they are the ones that set us apart from other tour companies. It also doesn’t hurt that we have a resident giraffe on our hikes that people get to interact with and feed.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood is playing at the ranch from morning till sundown with no parental supervision and building forts in the oak trees. There are spots on the hike where we actually pass these places from my childhood and I even tell guests about these fond memories. I feel like it gives guests a context to the ranch and they feel a little more of a connection and it does not feel like a mass produced experience.

Pricing:

  • Group Hikes start at $35/person
  • Giraffe Group Hikes start at $65/person

Contact Info:

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