Dan Kosta and Michael Browne have been making wine for almost 20 years, but they are still just as passionate and devoted as they were at the beginning of their journey. Dan and Michael’s high energy and can-do attitudes are the reasons that their high-wines are the center of a beautiful success story.
Two friends who love wine
John Ash & Co is the restaurant in Santa Rosa, California where Dan and Michael worked together in 1997. Dan was the manager and Michael was the restaurant’s sommelier. The two coworkers loved wine and wanted to pursue a challenging goal. They wanted to take one of the most sensitive grape varieties, Pinot Noir, and produce their own. Neither of them had experience producing wine, but this was only a source of motivation for the dynamic duo.
Dan and Michael made a deal with each other to save $10 every night that they worked together. In a few months, they saved a thousand dollars. With an investment from a friend, they were ready to produce their first vintage. Dan & Michael bought their first grapes and piece of equipment, and produced 24 cases in their first year. The first wines were poured for their most valued customers at the restaurant. The team continued to make wine, occasionally running into challenges that could have discouraged the two. Thanks to their positive mentality and perseverance they didn’t give up and in 2003 they received two 95s and three scores of 90+ from Wine Spectator. This was the major breakthrough that helped catapult the reputation of the winery into worldwide conversations.
Helpful advice from friends
Making wine is not an easy process, especially when you have never done it before. On their way to becoming the estate that they are today, they received some great advice. Master Sommelier Fred Dame was a wine expert who helped contribute to Dan & Michael’s confidence and winemaking skills. He reached out to the duo in 2002 after hearing about two “restaurant guys” who were making wine. Having an expert’s opinion was helpful to the wine making duo. When they received positive feedback, they knew that there were techniques in the winemaking process that worked and others that should be modified. Fred knew that the duo had something that couldn’t be found everywhere: excellent quality.
A bright future
Kosta Browne winery celebrated its 20th anniversary in May. The winery has come a long way since its inception. The determined duo do not seem to be letting up anytime soon. Investments in the wonderful Cerise Vineyard in Anderson Valley and the completion of their new cellar are signs that the winery is still dedicated to producing quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The team at Kosta Browne has also expanded as new winemakers have moved up through the ranks. Interns are also taken every year to nourish the curiosity of both of new winemakers and of those with plenty of experience.
Click to discover our selection of Kosta Browne wines: