Randy Ullom, American Wine Legend

Meet An American Wine Legend

The man. The mustache. And now, an American Wine Legend.

We are so proud to announce that our Kendall-Jackson Head Winemaker Randy Ullom has been selected as the Wine Enthusiast 'American Wine Legend' in the 23rd annual Wine Star Awards. This prestigious award is hand selected by the publishers of Wine Enthusiast and unlike the other Wine Star Award categories, the American Legend award does not have any other nominees and represents the pinnacle of American winemaking.

"Randy is an integral part of Kendall-Jackson's history," said Barbara Banke, Chairman and Proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, the family-owned wine company she co-founded and now leads with her family.  "He is an icon who has shaped the wine industry and his distinctive style of Chardonnay. He has enabled Kendall-Jackson's Vintners Reserve Chardonnay to be the industry leader for over 30 years. He is an authority on all things Chardonnay and his precision and focus are remarkable."

Becoming 'America's Favorite Chardonnay’ didn’t happen by accident.

Randy joined Kendall-Jackson in 1993 when he was hired by our founder Jess Jackson. For the past 30 years has been at the helm of our winemaking operations, ensuring every drop of wine, including our flagship Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay is crafted to the highest quality. This honor recognizes the many contributions Randy has made to American winemaking and for helping pioneer our signature style of Chardonnay that is celebrated around the world.

In his first few years as winemaker for Kendall-Jackson, Randy led efforts to open wineries in Mendocino and in the pursuit of opportunities in Monterey and Santa Barbara, he helped establish Kendall-Jackson’s single vineyard programs which resulted in labels such as Camelot Highlands Chardonnay, one our top offerings today. In addition, he spearheaded winemaking operations in Chile and helped to start the Jackson Family Wines endeavors in Australia. In 1997, Randy was promoted to Senior Vice President of Winemaking for Kendall-Jackson because of his extensive knowledge of the viticultural and winemaking programs. Randy embraces superior quality, integrity, authenticity, and consistency as the backbone to Kendall-Jackson’s storied winemaking heritage. Under Randy’s leadership, Kendall-Jackson, as the only American wine company with an ownership in a French stave mill, developed a robust and industry-leading barrel program that enables all of the Jackson Family Wines winemakers to choose precise oak sourcing – the region and the forest – which guarantees access to the highest-quality, sustainably sourced oak for Kendall-Jackson’s barrels and beyond. Furthermore, Randy is responsible for pushing boundaries and creating some of the most innovative initiatives in the wine space today, such as barrel-fermenting nearly every drop of the flagship Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, the largest barrel-ferment in the world for Chardonnay and an unprecedented commitment to artisanal winemaking techniques to achieve craft winemaking at scale. His distinguished winemaking skills, precision, and remarkable focus have helped Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay maintain its position as America’s #1 selling Chardonnay for 30 years.

Randy’s distinction as an 'American Wine Legend' comes on the cusp of his 30th harvest at Kendall-Jackson and our very own 40th anniversary. It also marks Randy’s second significant award in 2022. The Sonoma County Vintners awarded Randy with an Icons & Innovators award in May, noting his legendary status in Sonoma County winemaking and pioneering efforts in the California Chardonnay movement.

To learn more about the award visit winemag.com/2022/11/03/randy-ullom-2022-wine-star-american-wine-legend.

Learn more about Randy at kj.com/people/randy-ullom.