Kokomo Winery Pictures
Started in 2004 with the production of a single vineyard Cabernet from Mounts Vineyard, Kokomo Winery has continued to focus Dry Creek & Russian River Valley fruit, with an emphasis on single vineyard wines that show a distinct terroir. Erik Miller, winemaker and proprietor of Kokomo Winery, believes that their small production techniques and relationships with growers allow him to make wines that are as individual and unique as the vineyards they were born from.
In January 2008, Kokomo Winery celebrated the opening of their brand new tasting room at Timber Crest Farms, located 1.5 miles past the Dry Creek General Store in Dry Creek Valley. Visitors to the winery enjoy a unique wine tasting experience; the tasting room is incorporated right into the cellar, which can make for quite the experience during harvest season! Also located on the property is Peterson Family Winery, Amphora, and Papapietro Perry. There is also Dry Creek Olive Co. and beautiful picnic grounds with a bocci ball court.
Erik Miller, a Kokomo Indiana native, has always had a westward dream to make wines. After graduating from Purdue University in 1999, he set his sights on Sonoma County in order to pursue his dreams. "I traded in the soybeans and cornfields for the brighter skies, rolling hills and vineyards" Miller said. "With my Midwestern values, I approached the new territory with a promise to always treat the farmers and business the same - with respect."
Erik had his first opportunity to make an impression as a wine professional while working crush at Belvedere Winery in the Russian River Valley. Starting at ground level as a cellar worker, there was an immediate connection to the industry. After working that first harvest, Miller decided to enroll at U.C. Davis to study enology and learn from the best in the field. During the time he was attending classes, he met Rick Hutchinson, owner and winemaker of Amphora Winery, and was offered a full-time cellar worker position there.
While handling his duties in the cellar, Miller started Kokomo Winery with a 2004 single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Mounts Vineyard. In naming his new creation, the winemaker decided to pay tribute to his Indiana hometown. In 2005, while still sharing space with Amphora, Miller brought on his best friend and college roommate, Josh Bartels, for help with the new winery's second vintage. With Bartels on board, the two upped production and increased the product line. After the 2006 harvest, Kokomo Winery moved into its own facility at Timber Crest Farms in Dry Creek Valley.
Josh Bartels, a Carmel Indiana native, first met Erik while studying at Purdue University. It was during these years in college that Josh started developing a palate for the "finer tastes" in life. While experimenting with different business ventures, he worked part-time at a local wine shop in Indianapolis and his passion and knowledge of fine wines began to bloom.
Josh got a call from California in the summer of 2005, it was Erik, asking him to come to Sonoma County to work harvest with him at Amphora Winery. Josh couldn’t pass up the incredible opportunity and was immediately bitten by the "wine bug". He convinced his wife to move to Sonoma County and he began the process of absorbing as much knowledge as possible from the ground-up. When Kokomo Winery moved into their own facility after the 2006 harvest, Josh and Erik put all of their focus into creating incredible wines.
S.F. Chronicle- GOLD- 2005 Petite Sirah
Sonoma County Harvest Fair- GOLD- 2006 Syrah, SILVER- 2006 Cuvee Bela, SILVER- 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
S.F. Chronicle- 2.5 out of 3 points- 2006 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley