This Is Purdue

Kokomo Winery Owner Erik Miller on His Entrepreneurship Journey and How He Honors His Boilermaker Roots in Sonoma County


In this episode of “This Is Purdue,” we’re talking to Erik Miller, owner and winemaker of Kokomo Winery and Breaking Bread Winery.  

Listen as Erik (BS organizational leadership ’99) shares the journey of working his way up from a wine harvest intern to conceptualizing and later founding his own winery in Healdsburg, California, in the heart of Sonoma County.

Erik’s entrepreneurial spirit has helped make Kokomo Winery an award-winning winery in California, where becoming a household name is increasingly difficult. He dives into the story behind the name, which highlights his appreciation for his Indiana roots and instills a warm, Midwestern atmosphere inside the winery. And he encourages all Midwesterners, especially Boilermakers, to come say hi if they ever find themselves near Kokomo Winery! 

You’ll also learn more about the winemaking process as Erik delves into his latest entrepreneurial endeavor, Breaking Bread Winery, a line of natural wines best enjoyed with a meal. Plus, he discusses his collaboration with the Purdue for Life Foundation to create special edition Boilermaker wines — which sell out every year. 

Erik recently returned to campus for the 2023 Purdue Entrepreneurial Alumni Reunion, which celebrated the legacy of Boilermaker entrepreneurs, and you’ll hear how his experiences at Purdue equipped him to exhibit the entrepreneurial mindset that the university is working to cultivate through its new Purdue Innovates initiative.  

Don’t miss the story of this Boilermaker who used his persistence and innovation to turn his passion for winemaking into his own successful business more than 2,000 miles away from his hometown roots. 

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