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Unreserved Wine Talk

238 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


160: Longshot Wines Bet Big on Market Launch with Winemaker Beth Liston

Are you curious about how a wine brand breaks through in a new market? Why is the wine category one of the most difficult to offer a great price/quality ratio? What unique challenges do women winemakers face in the industry?


In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Beth Liston, a rebel winemaker from California who’s just launched a new wine called Longshot.


You can find the wines we discussed at



How did Beth’s interest in restoring vintage cars get started?

When did Beth realize she wanted to become a winemaker?

Which valuable lessons did Beth learn from working a harvest in South Australia?

What’s the most exciting aspect of being a winemaker?

What does it mean to find your voice as a winemaker?

What was the concept behind the creation of Longshot/Dark Horse wine?

Why is it particularly difficult to maximize wine’s price-quality ratio?

How do the techniques used in making Longshot/Dark Horse help them to stand out in their category?

What has Beth learned from her experimentation with blending grapes?

How does Beth translate inspiration from trends in cocktails and beer into winemaking?

What are the biggest trends currently dominating the drink industry?

How can you identify thiols when tasting wine?

What tasting experience can you expect from Longshot/Dark Horse Pinot Noir and Chardonnay?

Which food pairings should you try with Longshot/Dark Horse Pinot Noir?

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a winemaker?

How does Beth navigate the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field?


Key Takeaways

My MBA brain loves the back story of how a new wine brand breaks into a new market. So many factors are at play from the product itself and packaging to getting consumers to try the wine and building loyalty through repeat purchases.

The wine category is one of the most difficult to offer a great price/quality ratio given the vagaries of weather from year to year. As Beth notes, it’s an agricultural product, unlike say breakfast cereal where you can control production. It’s also capital intensive, from having to age wine so you're tying up your cash flow, to the substantial investment in equipment, from presses to bottling lines.

And finally, I admire her approach to building credibility in the industry as a woman and as a winemaker, regardless of gender. It takes perseverance, a love of change and adaptability and a willingness to get down in the trenches, or should we say the cellar, and learn the job from the ground up.


Join me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live Video

Join the live-stream video of this conversation on Wednesday at 7 pm eastern on Instagram Live Video, Facebook Live Video or YouTube Live Video.

I’ll be jumping into the comments as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real-time.

I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion of what we’re discussing? What takeaways or tips do you love most from this chat? What questions do you have that we didn’t answer?

Want to know when we go live?

Add this to your calendar:


About Beth Liston

Beth Liston discovered her interest in wine while growing up on California’s Central Coast. During college, she worked in a local tasting room, developing a fascination for both the art and science that goes into making great wines.


Beth earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a minor in Wine and Viticulture from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. After graduating, she completed graduate work in oenology and worked in wine sales in Austin, Texas before setting her sights on winemaking.


With more than a decade of harvests behind her, Beth has acquired diverse winemaking experiences from the Limestone Coast of South Australia to Napa Valley.


She’s now the Director of Winemaking for Dark Horse wines in Modesto, in California’s Central Valley. Outside of work, Beth enjoys spending time with her husband, Daniel, and their two sons, relaxing with yoga and travelling to explore new cultures through food and wine. She joins us now from Modesto, California.




To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit

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