Roxie Ward

Roxie Ward

Butternut Wines (Winemaker)

Roxie Ward, an up-and-coming winemaker, grew up in Salinas, CA, and completed high school there. She then moved to Laguna Beach to attend the Art Institute of Southern California, from which she received a Certificate of Fine Arts. After leaving art school, Roxie struggled to find work as an artist until she went to work for Smith & Hook/Hahn Estates in 1998. There, she worked as a tasting room attendant and as their in-house graphic designer.

Although finally putting her artistic talents to work, Roxie became restless of sitting behind a desk and inspired to learn more about the vineyard and the process of winemaking. She soon found herself amidst the 1000 acres of the Smith & Hook/Hahn Estates Vineyards doing cluster counts and grape sampling. From this moment, she caught the wine industry bug and wanted to learn more of the art of winemaking.

In 2000, Roxie joined Paraiso Vineyards and Cloninger Cellars, working as a winery assistant doing everything from tasting room management, vineyard sampling, barrel additions and topping. To further her experience in the wine industry, she went north to Sonoma County in 2001 and was hired by Martini & Prati Winery as a laboratory technician. She was rapidly promoted to lab manager at this two million-gallon facility. Still craving more experience and knowledge, Roxie moved to Vinovation Inc. in 2003 as a lab manager and enologist and learned many theories and various techniques of winemaking under the tutelage of Clark Smith. This was followed by a move to the Napa Valley in 2006 to become the lab manager for Mumm Napa, where she honed her lab skills and learned the art of making sparkling wine.

Eager to broaden her knowledge of the winemaking process and frustrated with getting very little cellar experience, Roxie made one of the biggest decisions of her life and moved to Australia to study full time at Charles Sturt University. She received her B.A. of Wine Science there, while working full time in the cellars of multiple wineries during her three years Down Under. These included Hope Estate, Elgo Estate, and the Charles Sturt Winery.

Roxie returned to California in 2011 and was named the winemaker at Terravant Wine Company in Santa Barbara County. During her four years there, she rose through the ranks to become Senior Director of Winemaking & Enology of the 350,000-case winery.

Her yearning to produce premium wines with a French influence and using French techniques, as well as a need to physically do all the work herself, led Roxie to Vincent Vineyards, a boutique winery established in the Santa Ynez Valley in 2006. Here she made wine for the Vincent family, striving to rival the great wines of France. She went on to work with Ken Brown Wines, a pioneer of small-lot Pinot Noir from vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills. Most recently, she was the winemaker at Center of Effort Winery in the Edna Valley, focusing on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as Chenin Blanc, before joining Miller Family Wine Company in 2019.