“I’ve always had an interest in wine,” says Julia Jackson, inspiration for the award-winning Julia’s Vineyard at Cambria Winery, and middle daughter of wine giants Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke, proprietors of Jackson Family Wines. “I know that sounds silly considering we were surrounded by wine and winemaking our whole lives, but I was interested in the business from an early age.” Born in San Francisco, California in 1988, Julia remembers her father making the kids pick and sort grapes in 100-degree weather, while he explained the importance of hard work. “My dad always made sure we appreciated what it took to become successful—I’ve never forgotten that.”
After school and during the summers, Julia worked at several of the Jackson Family wineries where she formed a life-long bond with the French-speaking daughter of one of the winemakers employed by the family. It was because of this friendship that Julia was able to spend a formative summer in Bordeaux, learning French and immersing herself in a language that she loves to this day.
“French has been a lifelong passion,” she says. “Being in France, around the vineyards and learning the French style of winemaking was a highlight of my life.” Her fluency in the language led to a teaching position during her college years, when she taught sixth grade French for a year.
After college, Julia traveled to Bordeaux, France, to learn about French sales and distribution, to work harvest at the Jackson Family owned Château Lassègue, and to immerse herself in the French language. She shadowed Nicolas Seillan during meetings with the esteemed French négociant Mahler-Besse and learned about the international markets before starting harvest.
She worked hard during harvest, often working 14-hour days, and doing everything from picking and sampling grapes to working the sorting table, doing pump-overs and punch-downs, and doing yeast adds. After harvest was over, Julia traveled to Champagne, where she continued her wine-production education by learning about the méthode champenoise and the Champagne region. Her visit to Bordeaux and Champagne ignited a passion to learn more about wine, and upon returning home she completed the Master Sommelier Introductory Course.
Julia’s harvest in France has inspired her to become involved with the international brands in the Jackson Family Wines portfolio, and she has recently started work with the Communications and Marketing Departments, where she is currently working on updating and improving the websites for Château Lassègue, Tenuta di Arceno, and Yangarra. She is also excited to be working with Nick Bevan on revamping the images of the international brands, with the ultimate goal of making them more appeal to wine buyers in their home countries.
In addition to marketing and PR, Julia plans to learn more about sales and distribution in the near future, when she will be traveling to both France’s VinExpo and some of Asia’s major wine markets to meet with salespeople and distributors, and to learn more about the global market. In addition to all of her work with the international side of the business, Julia is also excited to start contributing to the Kendall-Jackson blog as a KJ brand spokesperson. With all of these intriguing projects in the company and applications to business school planned, Julia is very excited about the future.