“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right”

- Mark Twain

Kosta Browne Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir


Kosta Browne is a Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey, Central Coast, California.


“Hot Legs” introduced me to Kosta Browne and I am forever thankful – even though it was his dad’s find. Kosta Browne is a blend of untamed herbs and vivid red fruit. Aromas of freshly peeled apples with wet minerality. Notes of vanilla and mint. Provocative and polished, with a silky, lingering finish.

Perhaps the most highly regarded appellation within Monterey County, Santa Lucia Highlands AVA benefits from a combination of warm morning sunshine and brisk afternoon breezes, allowing grapes to ripen slowly and fully. The result is concentrated, flavorful wines that retain their natural acidity. Wineries here do not shy away from innovation, and place a high priority on sustainable viticultural practices.

Michael Browne and Dan Kosta are alumni of a noted Sonoma County restaurant, John Ash and Co. Michael followed a circuitous route to get there. He was born in the San Francisco Bay Area, but grew up in Washington State. Upon returning to Santa Rosa in 1987, he enrolled in pre-requisite courses at Santa Rosa Junior College to become an architect. During schooling, he worked in wine retail and at a number of restaurants. It was at John Ash and Co that Michael developed a deep love for wine and food and the agricultural pursuit of winegrowing. His ultimate goal became to make a living as a winemaker.

Dan Kosta was a native of Sonoma who grew up around wine. Dan’s father owned a wine store in Santa Rosa and wine was a frequent topic of discussion at the household dinner table. After joining the staff at John Ash & Co, Dan worked his way up to Head Sommelier. He too, had a desire to be involved in a winery, and in 1997, he teamed with Michael to make the first Kosta Browne wine. They put all of their tip money into a “co-op” cookie jar placed in the restaurant’s kitchen. After raising $2,600, they bought a half ton of Pinot Noir grapes, a single barrel, and a used, hand-cranked de-stemmer and crusher to produce their first vintage.

Winemaker Nico Cueva joined Kosta Browne’s team five years ago, working with longtime winemaker Michael Browne. Since 2015, Cueva has made the wines on his own, as Browne has devoted more time to his Cirq label. The winery, meanwhile, has grown significantly. With the purchase of a 20-acre block of Russian River Valley’s Keefer Ranch in 2013, and of Anderson Valley’s Cerise Vineyard in 2016, Kosta Browne is expanding into its first-ever estate wines. In the last four years, according to president and CEO Scott Becker, production volume has grown from 20,000 to 30,000 cases.

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