Karin Warnelius Miller

Karin Warnelius Miller

Garden Creek Ranch Vineyards and Winery (Winemaker & Owner)

Karin Warnelius Miller was born in Linkoping, Sweden. She immigrated with her family to the United States in 1974. Her father was a winemaker and farmer in Sweden and ignited her passion for winemaking, wine-grape growing, and understanding plants. From her mother, she inherited natural culinary talents, deep family traditions, and devotion for the Swedish culture.

Karin has spent her entire life in wine. The family’s winery, Wärnelius Vineyards & Winery/Viking Ranch, was located in the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County, and she was a family partner there for 11 years, beginning in 1976. Some 4,000 cases per year of varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc were produced. Not surprisingly, Karin ascribes her experience at the winery as the foundation of her wine career.

In 1989, Karin assumed the position of Partner and Director of Marketing & Sales for Hässlö Vinmakare, a winery started by her father and brother in 1988 and one Sweden’s first. She remained in this role until mid-1999, reinforcing her expertise in the business end of the wine industry by earning a B.S. degree in International Business Marketing and Strategy from San Francisco State University.

But the wine industry was not Karin’s only interest. Her passion for fine art and modern design led her to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, following completion of the B.S. degree.

After graduating in the early 1990s, Karin devoted much of her time to fulfilling her responsibilities at Hässlö Vinmakare. For some four years, beginning in 1992, she was also International Sales and Marketing Manager for Jean Claude Boisset Wines USA, and from August, 1998, spent a year as Regional Sales Representative for Regal Wine Company, where she was responsible for marketing the portfolio of Kendall-Jackson wines.

As fate would have it, joining Regal brought Karin back to the U.S. from Sweden and gave her the opportunity to reconnect with a childhood friend, Justin Miller. They fell in love and were married on his family’s ranch in1998. Justin had grown up on the ranch and had assumed the role of viticulturist there. Karin and he started winemaking in 2001 and have “never looked back.” They are currently producing Chardonnay, Scheurebe (a Riesling cross), and a proprietary Bordeaux blend.

Karin and Justin have two children, daughter Elsa and son Leif. When not working at the winery or fulfilling her responsibilities for sales, marketing and hospitality, she enjoys kite surfing the Sonoma Coast, yoga, biking, skiing, taking long walks, and traveling the world with her family. A glass of wine each night with a home-cooked meal with produce from the ranch is an integral part of her life. In short, Karin’s passion for cooking from the land, the importance of crafting by hand, and her strong family values are the foundation of who she is.