Finding Kokoma in Sonoma

The Beach Boys sang, “There's a place called Kokomo. That's where you wanna go to get away from it all.” Although they were talking about a place in the Caribbean sun, Sonoma’s Kokomo Winery actually gets its name from the Indiana city.  That Kokomo may not quite resemble Montego Bay, but it’s where Erik Miller got the name for his premier winery.

The Kokomo Winery in Sonoma’s Timber Crest Farms was started by Miller in 2004. He wanted a winery focused on premium, small production wines, preferably from single vineyards.  He decided to work with Randy Peters, an expert on growing grapes in the Dry Creek Valley. Then he brought in Josh Bartels, a friend he met while at Purdue University, a year later as Assistant Winemaker.

The trio has succeeded in accomplishing their desire to produce fine wines. They have a variety of offerings here. Some of the choices are unusual for the Sonoma area, but that hasn’t stopped them from blending these European style grapes with the quality they desire.

Check the blackboard when you walk into the winery to see what the latest offerings are. Hopefully, you will get to taste the 2007 Sangiovese Mountain View. These grapes are an Italian varietal and come from one of the highest elevations in Dry Creek Valley. Despite spending three years in the barrel, it’s full of ripe red fruit and a great wine with any type of food.

A Cuvee is made each year at Kokomo Winery in small quantity. The 2008 “4781” is a blend of Bordeaux and Rhone varietals. It’s rich and dark, and full of fruit and spice, especially cinnamon and nutmeg.  For something entirely on the other spectrum of wine, check out the 2010 Kokomo Sauvignon Blanc, full of tropical notes and a bit earthy, like the New Zealand ones.

If you are looking for the Sonoma standards, you will also find Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel at Kokomo, though they often sell out faster than they can be made.  For information on hours, tours and tastings at Kokomo Winery, visit their website.

P.S. In addition to taking home some wine, check out the shirt collection before you leave Kokomo. I love my “Peace, Love & Pinot” top!


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