Beth Liston

Beth Liston

Dark Horse Wine (Director of Winemaking)

Beth Liston grew up on the Central Coast of California, staying in the area for her higher education. She earned a B.S. in Business Administration from California Polytechnic University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo in 2002 and minored in Enology and Viticulture. While in school, she served as a tasting room attendant at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery in Arroya Grande. After graduating, Beth took a position with Glazer’s Distributors in Texas as a sales representation for its portfolio of wine and beer before returning to California in August, 2003, to work at Robbins Brothers, The Engagement Ring Store, in Torrance. During the year she spent with the firm, she became a certified diamontologist, quite a departure from wine-oriented activities!

Nonetheless, the wine industry remained her passion, so Beth returned to Cal Poly in 2004 to pursue an M.S. in Food Science, focusing on enology and completing all the course work for the degree in 2007. While in this program, she held a position as tasting room supervisor at Baileyana Winery in San Luis Obispo and completed several harvest internships, including with E. & J. Gallo in Modesto (Fall, 2005), Cape Jaffa Wines in South Australia (Spring, 2006), and Rutherford Hill Winery in Napa (Fall, 2006).

Beth continued her career with Gallo in April, 2007, serving as a research winemaker in its Modesto facility. In mid-2008, she became the assistant winemaker for Gallo in its Livingston location and was promoted to winemaker there in April, 2011. A further promotion to senior winemaker and relocation to Modesto, the home of Gallo, occurred two years later. Among other duties at this time was her role as winemaker/spokesperson for the firm’s Dark Horse Wines. She became manager of winemaking in April, 2014, and was responsible for the specialty winemaking department, which oversaw production of all of Gallo’s flavored beverages and 35% of its U.S.-produced sparkling wine. Continuing up the administrative ladder, Beth was named a senior manager of winemaking in April, 2016. She became Director of Winemaking for Dark Horse Wines, her current position, in early 2018.

She describes her approach to winemaking in the following way: “I’m constantly challenging myself to make better wine every year, and working out ways to create classic wines that are affordable and approachable, by working closely with our growers, especially during harvest time.” At Dark Horse, she is producing a number of varietals, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and sparkling wines as well.