By all accounts, Kendall-Jackson produces some of the best wines in California’s Sonoma County. It is one of the largest winery organizations of the U.S.A.
It is in fact California’s premier family-owned winery. The vineyards were established in 1974 in Lake County. At first Jess Jackson was happy to grow and sell his fruit to quality-minded wine makers both in Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Suddenly in 1981 demand for fruit dropped and a decision had to be made to make wine or sell the vineyards. Jess Jackson opted for the first and today the company produces over six million cases of branded varietal wines at a range of price levels.
The first Kendall-Jackson wines were marketed in 1982 and gradually evolved into blended wines from Santa Barbara, Monterey, Sonoma and Lake Counties.
In 1993 the head office was transferred to Sonoma County.
Jess Jackson, a lawyer by profession, passed away early in 2011. Barbara Banke now owns the winery and runs it.
Many gold, silver and bronze awards have been awarded to Kendall-Jackson and no doubt many more will follow in the coming years. Randy Ullom, the chief winemaker subscribes to the philosophy of producing fine, value-representing wines.
Canada is one of the largest export markets, where Kendall-Jackson wines enjoy excellent success in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.
The company produces several lines.
(The article is updated Jul 27, 2011)