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!
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.
Joined Kendall-Jackson: 1994
Winemaking Focus: Oversees all Burgundian and Rhone 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.
Joined Kendall-Jackson: 2001
Winemaking Focus: Oversees all Claret winemakingFritz came to Kendall-Jackson in 2001 after 7 years as Head Winemaker at Husch Winery in Anderson Valley. In fact, Fritz was promoted to be Husch’s Head Winemaker when Mark Theis left to take the job for Jess Jackson at Kendall-Jackson’s Lake County winery in 1994.
Fritz was born in a small town in the Black Forest, in the German territory of Baden, one of the country’s biggest and most important wine regions. He went on to graduate from Geisenheim University, the leading enology school in Europe, and fell in love with wine. After Geisenheim, Fritz did his Army service for eighteen months. Twelve hours after his discharge, he was on a plane to Texas, where—on the referral of a friend—he’d landed a job at a small winery. “It was not a successful venture,” Fritz remembers. “Texas is a very difficult place to grow grapes.”
One thing led to another, and Fritz—again on the referral of his friend—got a job in the laboratory at Charles Krug Winery, in the Napa Valley, although it was just for the harvest. After the harvest, he met Mark Theis who then hired him as Assistant Winemaker at Husch.