The Mill Keeper Introduces New Winemaker

The Mill Keeper, owned by third-generation farmer and one of Napa Valley’s leading sustainable wine growers, Tom Gamble, is pleased to introduce Ross Dawkins as winemaker. Dawkins leads all winemaking and operations for the multi-vintage brand, which launched in 2021.

“We are thrilled to have a winemaker on board with experience as robust and diversified as Ross,” says Gamble. “Ross’ winemaking style elevates freshness and vibrancy to create truly delicious wines that celebrate the everyday. That is what The Mill Keeper is all about.”

Born and raised on the east coast of South Africa, Dawkins grew up immersed in agricultural work that formed the basis for a successful future career in the vineyards. After graduating from Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape with a degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Dawkins went on to work harvest jobs and winemaking positions in esteemed vinicultural hubs as varied as Stellenbosch, Margaret River, Australia, and Saint-Emillon, France. In 2016, Dawkins settled in California and took a position as assistant winemaker at Pahlmeyer in Napa. In 2019, he was brought on as winemaker at Firstleaf in Napa where he grew an appreciation for wines that value accessibility and drinkability.

Dawkins describes his experience of “hopping hemispheres” from one harvest to the next as crucial to his understanding of winemaking as an art form and to his eventual calling at The Mill Keeper. “Tom [Gamble] thinks outside of the box, and that’s what initially drew me to The Mill Keeper. We both have the desire to make top-tier wine that doesn’t sacrifice accessibility in pursuit of quality. The multi-vintage model allows us to make excellent, ready-to-drink wines that honor the traditions of both old and new.”

A partner of National Parks Conservation Association, The Mill Keeper strives to be a steward of the land while creating high-quality, environmentally conscious wines at a value. Dawkins will work with Gamble to continue to source sustainably grown fruit from smaller, overlooked sites with the goal of preserving family-owned farms in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake and Mendocino Counties.

The Mill Keeper’s flagship wines are The Mill Keeper Cabernet Sauvignon MV ($25) and The Mill Keeper Chardonnay MV ($24). These wines are available for purchase at and are distributed throughout the country in select markets.

About The Mill Keeper

The Mill Keeper was founded in 2021 and is inspired by the history of Napa’s early wine industry pioneers of the mid 1800’s. The brand embodies these pioneers’ enduring spirit and the desire to bring the virtues of their dedication and the resulting agrarian bounty of Californian vineyards to consumers in the United States and globally. Prioritizing sourcing from generational vineyards with sustainable land management programs, The Mill Keeper strives to give a second life to smaller, overlooked sites with the goal of preserving the state’s agricultural space and creating high-quality, environmentally conscious wine at a value. Taking inspiration from Champagne and Port, where vintages are blended to create consistently beautiful bottlings, The Mill Keeper produces multi-vintage still wines at a price of $25 and under.

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