Technology's Enterprising Alumni
Seizing the day: Success stories of
Erik Miller (OLS ’99)
Winemaker, Erik Miller Wines
Erik Miller grew up in the cornfields of central Indiana. But while working crush season in California’s verdant hills, his appreciation of agriculture morphed into a passion for wine. After taking enology classes and seeking the advice of successful winemakers, Miller was offered some grapes and an attractive financing package. That gave him just the break he needed to begin bottling his own label.
Already, Miller’s investment has paid off: His rich, plum-colored ’04 Cabernet has sold out, and he’s currently marketing ’05 bottles in California and several other states. He’s also opening a tasting room in historic downtown Santa Rosa, where tourists can swirl, sniff, and swish his ‘05 Sauvignon Blanc.
Miller, who routinely switches from jeans in the cellar to business attire for wine presentations, credits his well-rounded education for his solid management skills. “A lot of the quality control classes that I took are so paramount to what I do,” he explains. The Purdue pedigree has helped as well. “Out West that degree really holds a lot of clout,” he says.
- Angie Roberts