"When my family and I founded Kendall-Jackson in 1982, we simply wanted to create extraordinary wine from California's best vineyards." -JESS JACKSON, Founder
Ours is as much the story of a winery as it is the story of one man, his family and a dream. In 1974, our founder Jess Jackson, famously bought an 80-acre pear and walnut orchard in rural Lakeport, California, where he planned to try his hand at creating wine from some of his favorite varietals while on weekends away from his successful career as a San Francisco attorney. "I was attracted by the lifestyle," Jess said. "I wanted to get away from law and become a farmer."
By the early 1980s, Jess and his growing family had transformed the orchard into a working winery that produced grapes Jess sold to other wineries. During a fateful harvest in 1980, a large order from another winery was cancelled, and Jess was stuck with a bumper crop of unused grapes: from this the first bottle of Kendall-Jackson was produced. This first bottling, the 1982 Vintner's Reserve, garnered attention for its unique bright fruitiness. It was an immediate, if modest, hit. Though Jess and his family shipped less than 20,000 cases of that legendary '82 Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay, the release went on to become the most popular Chardonnay in America. In 1983, Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay won the first Double Platinum Award ever presented by the American Wine Competition, and has gone on to win accolades year after year.
Now, almost three decades later, Kendall-Jackson Winery produces an array of super-premium wines whose quality, taste and integrity embody the very spirit of our founder's mission. In Jess Jackson's own words, "We grow grapes on our own 15,000 acres of California coastal vineyards. We take the no-compromise, high road approach to quality required to grow our world-class grapes and produce acclaimed award-winning wines."