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Day in the Life of Elizabeth

Women Powered Wines

A Day in the Life of Elizabeth Kester

Elizabeth Kester, Head of Winemaking

Elizabeth has come a long way since she started at Wente Vineyards as an intern over a decade ago. Her talents were quickly recognized, and she worked her way up to her current role, as the first female Director of Winemaking for Wente Family Estates. A proven leader, Elizabeth drives innovation in the winery and implements the latest technologies to collaborate with the viticulture team to bring in the highest quality grapes, crafting the world-class wines that are synonymous with the Wente name. Working closely alongside Niki Wente, Director of Vineyard Operations, and Aly Wente, Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experience, Elizabeth is an integral part of the talented trio of women leaders who have taken Wente Vineyards to the next level, from grape to glass. Here’s a peek into a day in the life of Elizabeth Kester:

Morning and My Commute

I rise with the sun, each day bringing its own unique rhythm. I check my emails right away to see if anything needs to be tended to immediately. After getting myself dressed and ready, I wake Franqlin – the 3-year-old longhaired dachshund (he loves to sleep in). After a quick play with the pup, it’s time for breakfast. I love a good salt bagel, but my favorite is a veggie burrito off the taco truck at work. Washed down with OJ and a handful of vitamins – gotta stay healthy and energized. I don’t drink caffeine, so I make a pot of herbal or decaf tea every day. I love the ritual and warmth it provides.

Depending on the day, work starts at different locations. Sometimes at the winery, sometimes in the vineyards with Niki, and sometimes at our Arroyo property. My commute to Livermore Valley is a 1.5-hour journey from my home. I am a great multitasker, so I will often take my first meetings/calls on the road. When I’m not in meetings, I’m engrossed in an audiobook – I listened to 45 last year! Some of my favorites are from authors Liane Moriarty, Barbara Kingsolver, Robert Dugoni, and Anthony Horowitz.

Day-to-Day Working Schedule

Meetings punctuate my day (sometimes too often), offering structure and collaboration opportunities. From strategic sessions with the executive team to daily flow meetings with production representatives, each gathering fuels my passion for winemaking and strengthens the bonds within our team. Amidst the flurry of activity, I relish the moments spent in tastings with my team, where the true essence of our craft comes to life. Our winemaking team is a phenomenal crew and is a pleasure to work with, making the long hours worthwhile!

Amidst the whirlwind of meetings, lunch becomes fleeting. If I can catch a moment, I love a good tuna sandwich. One thing I never miss, though, is my daily kombucha. I’ve definitely developed a habit—I can’t go a day without one, but at least it’s healthy!

Living in the country is amazing – lots of critters around! We just rehomed 3 feral barn cats to our backyard, so they can mouse for us. With the space we have, we will also soon have two goats that will serve as our weed eaters. Name suggestions for all are welcome!

In the summertime, I play twilight golf in a ladies’ league once a week. Recently, my husband got me a pickleball paddle for Christmas – and, let me tell you, I am obsessed (!) It is so much fun and, honestly, such a great workout.

Before bed, I sometimes prep my lunch and set out clothes for the next day. Then, it’s time to tuck Franqie into his bed and then get to bed as early as possible (still my goal for 2024 – go to sleep early!). Each night, I like to unwind with a few pages of a book to clear my mind of the day’s activities (currently, the Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith). If I don’t do that, I find myself waking up at night, brewing about work.

From tank walks to twilight golf – I try to make every day count. From dawn till dusk, my life as a winemaker is a testament to dedication, passion, and the enduring pursuit of excellence. Being one of the women powering Wente Vineyards wines is a responsibility that I find incredibly fulfilling, and I’m fortunate I get to spend my days doing something I absolutely love.

Wrap-up and Evening

As the day draws to a close, I eagerly anticipate the warmth of home and the company of my husband and puppy. Cooking has always been a passion of mine, and I find joy in preparing simple yet satisfying meals for my family. With Franqie at my side and the promise of an evening filled with laughter and love, I cherish these moments of tranquility amidst the chaos of life.

I’ve developed some quick, easy, and healthy meals that have become staples in our house. If I’ve cooked for you, you’ve probably had my Mediterranean pepper salad, baked salmon, quick salads, taco soup, or stuffed peppers.

After dinner, there is more playtime with Franqie, and sometimes my husband and I play a game of cards. We’re on “nickels” kick right now.

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