Article archives

Wine Country Personality

Nancy Hawks Miller, Wine Educator

Landing in the world of wine and growing a lasting career

Nancy Hawks Miller, Director of Education at Goosecross Cellars, has been a wine education professional for over 20 years.  Many of those years were spent at Robert Mondavi Winery managing, training and educating a high profile staff of Wine Educators who performed a broad range of educational programs and events. Her refined experience has allowed her to develop and present educational trainings and seminars for consumers, retailers, distributors and restaurateurs across the Napa Valley.  But her career sights weren’t always set on this studious passion for wine.

Like many people, Nancy fell into the wine industry by chance.  “I couldn’t bring myself to leave it to get a "real job."  I had graduated with a degree in music and a music teaching credential when fine arts were cancelled in the public schools and work was difficult to find.  I went to stay with my parents in Napa and haven't left the valley since.” she says.

Once exposed to the world of wine, she took classes and seminars, joined a tasting group, and read like crazy.  Working at Robert Mondavi provided her a school-like environment through frequent meetings with the winery’s vineyard managers, discussions with the winemakers and weekly staff tastings including the best local wines and wines from all over the world.  The wide variety of programs she led for both professionals and consumers at Mondavi provided an invaluable foundation of knowledge and experience in wine education.

Today at Goosecross Cellars, Nancy has created a programs for wine and food lovers from all experience levels and backgrounds.  “I am very fortunate to be in my current position, mixing with consumers and wine enthusiasts.  That’s where the fun is - meeting people and sharing our enthusiasm for wine.” 

Her “Wine Basics” class is designed to teach novices basic tasting techniques, gain confidence and help develop their wine vocabulary.  Experienced tasters will learn where and how many of the components become part of the wine, whether by the good graces of Mother Nature or through man's intervention. It is the essential class to better understanding why a wine is herbal or buttery and detecting warm-climate vs. cold-climate characteristics. 

The “Estate Winegrowing Tour” provides a chance for visitors to get out into the vineyard, to see and touch and ask questions about what it takes to grow world-class fruit. The guests taste the grapes, measure the sugar and the winemaker often offers juice or wine to taste right out of the press and fermentation tanks.    

Nancy has provided wine and food pairing lessons in collaboration with the Napa Valley Grille including a brief discussion on some classic and contemporary theories to wine and food pairing precedes a delicious, multi-course meal with both tried-and-true and surprising wine pairings.

“The experience both supports some theories and blows them out of the water depending on the pairing selected by myself and the Chef. This is a very hedonistic way to pick up some great tips on wine and food pairing!,” says Nancy.
More details on Nancy’s classes and Goosecross Cellars, located in Yountville - the heart of Napa Valley can be found online at

Also reserve an Exclusive Experience with Goosecross Cellars and Culinary Getaways on for six friends to explore wine tasting and cooking with Napa Valley’s best. Click here