Founders & Owners – Lisa & Darius

Darius & Lisa Miller

Over the years we continued to learn about wine, where it grew, and how it was produced. But living in PA we had limited opportunities. That changed when we moved to San Diego in 1997 and our appreciation and access to wine greatly increased. Slowly, a dream formed of owning a winery one day.

After years of corporate life and raising children – life threw us a curveball and we had to rethink our lives. After months of soul searching, we realized our dream of building a winery and opened Koi Zen Cellars in April 2015. Our friends and family thought we were crazy, but we wanted to “follow a passion and not a paycheck.”

Over the years we have learned much about life, family, friends, service, determination, gratitude, and vision and we thank you for sharing your time with us.


Lisa & Darius Miller

Tasting Room Team

Lisa Miller

COO & Owner

* Owner/COO – Better known as Mom
* Heart and soul of Koi Zen
* Professional Photographer
* Loves movies, inspirational books, connecting people, jogging, and hula-hooping.

Hillary Griffith

Wine Steward

* Animal lover
* eclipse chaser
* BA in studio art
* Raised & Trained dobermans for the last 30 years

Kelly Hopkins

Wine Steward

* Fan of Aztec baseball
* Still faithful Padre fan
* Loves to garden
* Loves hanging with family

Michele Light

Wine Steward

* Born & Raised in Brooklyn, NY
* Loves power walking and strength training.
* Proud mom of 24 year old daughter.

Elise Potter

Wine Steward

* Grew up in Santa Ynez Valley
* Urban farmer and bee keeper
* Outdoor adventurer

Sharron Rodems

Wine Steward

* Mom of 3 lovely children and two fur babies.
* Grandma to three lovely grand children.
* Favorite place is Paso Robles, CA

John Rogers

Wine Steward

* East coast transplant, finally back in San Diego after a long stint in Los Angeles.
* Avid sports fan, especially hockey.
* When not working, can usually be found at a concert or someplace listening to live music.

Jessi Schwarz

Wine Steward

* Dog mother, wine lover
* Discovered her love for wine as an exchange student in Germany.
* Made her first batch of home wine with the “Grape to Bottle 2022 Class” @ Koi Zen.
* Other passions include painting, good food, traveling with husband Mark.

Production Team

Darius Miller

Owner & Winemaker

* CEO and Winemaker
* Author/Speaker/Minister
* Keeper of Koi
* Tai Chi Student
* 8 year Zazen student
* Always learning and experimenting
* Fixer of anything

Dane Taylor

Assistant Winemaker/Cellar Rat

* Lived in Panama in High School
* Studied Enology & worked at Martinelli
* Licensed massage therapist
* Avid surfer dude
* Dad of Adonis and Esme

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”

~~ Buddha ~~