The community of Seaside has gained a reputation as a forerunner in many arenas. Now its private-label collection of hand-selected wines called the Seaside Wine Project, which debuted in 2014, is becoming noticed as well. Several of the varietals have received top ratings from Wine Enthusiast magazine: 2014 Seaside Cuvée (93), 2014 Seaside DCV Zinfandel (92), and 2015 Seaside Rosé (91)
In addition, four varietals recently received Gold designations at the North Coast Wine Challenge: the 2014 Seaside Chardonnay (Gold 91), 2014 Seaside Cuvée (Gold 96), 2015 Seaside Grenache Rosé (Gold 94) and the 2014 Seaside Zinfandel (Gold 94).
The entire Seaside Wine Project family of wines was handpicked by Seaside founders Robert and Daryl Davis to appeal to the interest and demand from patrons and visitors for top quality wines that capture the essence of Seaside. After taste-testing numerous varietals from various wineries, the choice was made to form a partnership with Kokomo Winery.
With nearly 40 years of wine grape growing experience under his belt, Kokomo Winery owner and winemaker Erik Miller says Kokomo Winery continues to gain more 90+ ratings and gold medals with each anticipated release. Seaside’s private collection was originally bottled under the Kokomo label. Shortly thereafter, Seaside produced its own label, which features Seaside’s iconic Obelisk pavilion, also known as the Coleman pavilion, after architect, David Coleman, who designed it. Now with the Seaside brand on the bottle, the wines are becoming collectors’ items.
Formerly sold by the glass or bottle only at Seaside merchants including Modica Market, The Shrimp Shack, Bud & Alley’s Restaurant, Pizza Bar and Taco Bar, Great Southern Café, Amavida Coffee & Tea, Raw & Juicy and 45 Central Wine Bar, in 2017 the Seaside Wine Project will become available in several local area restaurants by the glass.
Wine enthusiasts can choose from among their favorite varieties including a sauvignon blanc, a crisp chardonnay, pinot noir, cuvee, rose and a light, red zinfandel. The sauvignon blanc has a depth of palate with loads of complexity that is typically not seen from the varietal. With aromas of pear, apricot, guava and a hint of tangerine, the palate showcases rich and round notes of citrus finishing with vibrant balanced acidity. The coastal chardonnay is broad and expansive offering pure rich layered notes of peach, nectarine, honeydew and creamy vanilla. Cool, foggy mornings and warm afternoons, coupled with long hang time, allow for perfectly balanced tannins and a consistently classy finish for the pinot noir; the aromatics of cherry cola, exotic spices, ripe plum and hint of rose petals gives this wine the power of elegance and complexity. The zinfandel offers a ravishing display of ruby red color that leads into a pleasant bouquet of blackberry fruit, cocoa, and holiday spice, and while sipping, your palette will be delighted by blackberries and plum, refined tannins, a full body and a finish that lingers. The cuvée is produced from a unique blend of vineyards and varietals from throughout Sonoma County. Stemming from its close proximity to the coast, the county experiences diverse microclimates and contains a vast range of soil types, thus resulting in the vineyards showcasing the area’s versatility. Vines are certified organic and 100 percent dry farmed to showcase the true essence of the varietal.
The partnership with Kokomo Winery is a perfect fit: The idea of Seaside began with the notion of reviving traditions deeply rooted in the history of the Florida Gulf Coast and further fulfilling the dream of a place that would maintain a high degree of quality and character seamlessly tied by a common sense of community. The vision was realized in the early 1980s when the Davises began to create a town on the 80 acres of pristine property located near Seagrove Beach that Robert Davis inherited from his grandfather. Today, that place is Seaside, a New Urbanist community where families longing for the comforting throwback to simpler times by the sea can still experience a simple, beautiful life.
Similar in vision, Kokomo Winery is rediscovering and reviving traditional techniques of growing grapes locally and making wine that are deeply rooted in the terroir (a French word for land, referring to the special characteristics of a specific land’s geography and environment) of Sonoma, just as Seaside has rediscovered and revived Gulf Coast architecture and community building.
Miller focuses the production of his single-vineyard wines on the special characteristics and qualities from the natural terrain and the climate of Sonoma County and its distinct appellations to offer flavorful, balanced, handcrafted wines. Miller says there are no shortcuts and Kokomo leaves its thumbprint off the wine in order to showcase the fruit and flavors that are born in the vineyard.
Kokomo believes small production techniques and relationships with growers allow the winery to produce and offer wines that are as individual and special as the vineyards from which they were born.
Named after Miller’s hometown, Kokomo, Ind., the Kokomo Winery is perched on 120 acres of prime Dry Creek Valley known as Timber Crest Farms. This unique and scenic property possesses a rich history in Sonoma County dating back to the mid-1800s.
Seaside is celebrating 35 years of success and the people who live, work and visit that have helped to give it life and establish Seaside’s personality. Cheers to a wine that captures the essence of the holiday town and offers a way to stay connected in the form of simple, beautiful and tasteful wine varieties.