Jess Jackson Passes Away, A Letter To Our Friends And Family

Dear Friends,

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Jess Stonestreet Jackson, who died in his sleep today after a long, courageous battle with cancer.

Jess Jackson was that rare individual whose vision, perseverance and work ethic transformed an entire industry. A truly self-made man, his legacy will endure, inspiring all those who believe that being successful in business does not mean that one must compromise those basic values: family, hard work, integrity and stewardship of the land.

Raised in San Francisco during the Great Depression, Jackson started the Kendall-Jackson wine business with the 1974 purchase of an 80-acre pear and walnut orchard in Lakeport, California that he converted to a vineyard.

In 1982, he produced his first bottle under the Kendall-Jackson label using a batch of grapes that went unsold.  This decidedly unique wine was an instant hit.  Nearly thirty years later, Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay remains America’s favorite Chardonnay and Jackson Family Wines is among the World’s most successful family owned winery groups, comprised of more than thirty five individual wineries.

As so many of you know, this is a family run company.  Jess was particularly proud that his children now work actively alongside his wife Barbara Banke.  Together they will ensure that his legacy is carried on for generations to come.

We would like to hear from you if you ever met Jess Jackson, have a story, or just loved his wines.  Please post a comment here on our blog or send us an email at

Take a moment this week to a lift a glass and join us in a toast to our friend and founder, Jess Jackson.

-The Kendall-Jackson Team