' Kendall-Jackson - Meet the Winemakers
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Meet The Winemakers

Meet Our Extended Family:

The Kendall-Jackson Winemaking Team

Taste is everything here at Kendall-Jackson, so naturally we have assembled a team of skilled craftsman here at the winery. Led by long-time Winemaster Randy Ullom – who worked closely with founder Jess Jackson for 15 years to hone the Kendall-Jackson wine style – our team uses artisan winemaking techniques to capture the essence of the vineyards in the glass. Enjoy!

Winemaster Randy Ullom

Joined Kendall-Jackson: 1992 | Became Winemaster in 1997

Winemaking Focus: Oversees the entire Kendall-Jackson Portfolio

"I look at all of the vineyards we own, and all of the individual lots of wines that we make, and the thousands of barrels we have sitting in our cellar and sometimes I think, you gotta be kidding me! After I've sufficiently recovered from my daily panic attack, I take off my coat, dig in my heels and take it one barrel at a time. It's a rewarding job that I love."

Hired by Jess Jackson in 1992 as Winemaker for some of our smaller and international vineyards, Randy was handed his most prestigious assignment in 1997 - Winemaster for Kendall-Jackson Winery.

A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Randy became interested in wine during a three-year stay in Chile, while on sabbatical from college in the early 1970s. His stay inspired a cross-country trek through Chile's vast wine-growing regions. On his return to the United States, he entered Ohio State University to study crop production with a specialty in Viticulture and Enology and received his degree in 1975.

After six years as a vineyard manager and Winemaker in Ohio and upstate New York, Randy moved to California to become associate Winemaker at De Loach Vineyards in Sonoma County. He was promoted to Winemaker and Vice President in 1991. The wines produced during his tenure were consistent gold medal winners at wine competitions.

Winemaker Mark Theis

Joined Kendall-Jackson: 1994

Winemaking Focus: Oversees all Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah winemaking

Mark joined Kendall-Jackson in 1994 as Winemaker at our Lakeport winery in Lake County. Over the years, he has honed our Chardonnay winemaking style - a tremendous task. Today, Mark oversees our Burgundian winemaking programs (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) as well as our Syrah releases.

Mark was born in Dodge City, Kansas and grew up on a nearby cattle ranch. Like many of his wine industry contemporaries, he began making wine during his high school years. In Mark's spare time, he experimented with fermentation. He later went on to study general agriculture but the winemaking bug had hooked him, and he transferred to UC Davis to study Fermentation Science - graduating in 1979.

Mark worked at Monterey Peninsula Winery as an assistant. The tiny winery proved to be an ideal training ground for a young winemaker. By 1981, he had been appointed Head Winemaker and was crafting very individualistic wines that received a remarkable cult following.

Two years later, he transferred to Husch Winery. Over a period of ten years, he produced a string of critically acclaimed, award-winning wines before joining the Kendall-Jackson team.

Winemaker Matt Smith

Joined Kendall-Jackson: 2004

Winemaking Focus: Oversees Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Meritage Red

Matt came to Kendall-Jackson in 2004 and has focused on winegrape growing and winemaking of the Bordeaux varietals. In 2006, he was made Winemaker, heading the production for Kendall-Jackson wines at our Oakville winery. Today, Matt oversees the production of all our Bordeaux wines (Cabernet, Merlot and Meritage).

Raised in Grosse Pointe Park, a suburb of Detroit, Matt started life far from wine country, but his Italian side of the family always kept wine on the table. His great-grandfather was a Winemaker in his native Sassoferrato, Italy, and continued that tradition after immigrating to Michigan by purchasing California grapes.

At age 16, Matt first set foot in a wine cave in France's Loire Valley and felt at home. He earned a Bachelor's degree in 1990 from the University of Michigan, in French Language and Political Science. During his undergraduate years, he spent a year abroad at the Université de la Sorbonne in Paris. After graduating, he spent two years living in France and Spain where, among other things, he had the chance to visit winegrowing regions and deepen his interest. He found his way to the Bay Area in 1995 and, soon after, realized that winemaking was his true calling.

He returned to school and completed his studies at UC Davis in 2003 in the graduate group of Viticulture & Enology. Matt was able to combine his passion for travel with that for winemaking while working overseas in Burgundy (for Maison Joseph Drouhin) and Australia (for Mitchelton Wines).

Meet the Winemakers
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Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens
5007 Fulton Road
Fulton, CA 95439
866.287.9818
Partake by KJ
241 Healdsburg Ave
Healdsburg, CA 95448
707.433.6000

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