What Does It Mean To Be Family-Owned?

Kendall-Jackson is one of the few large family owned businesses left in the wine industry. To me the essence of family ownership is to have a family that’s dedicated to and passionate about the business. We care about maintaining the quality of our wines in order to please consumers and uphold our family legacy. Although we’re a business, there’s less focus on making a short term profit because we’re invested in the future.

I interviewed several family members to get their perspective on what it means to be committed to family ownership:

My dad, Jess Jackson, said, “Being family owned is a distinction that is rapidly becoming a rarity in our industry. Our family culture is built on the time-honored principles of hard work, integrity, and uncompromising desire for quality and the long-term stewardship of the land. It takes a strong-willed family to live up to these principles. Being a family company allows me to lead a legacy of private ownership. It allows a transition generationally of a private company that supports individual creation.”

Barbara Banke, my mom, offered this perspective, “A family business means that we have a good long term view that allows us to make long term investments that won’t pay off for sometimes decades. It also guarantees that we’ll take care of the land and that we’re more concerned about the environment. As a family we have less interest in short term versus long term profits. By introducing our kids at a young age, they can learn and appreciate what we do as a family business.”

According to my brother-in-law, Don Hartford, “I’ve worked for the family business most of my life. The idea appealed to me from the beginning because you get to be around the people you love and work with them on a daily basis. This isn’t a family business that was started generations ago. It has an entrepreneurship quality with what we’ve done to it because it was started in our generation. Our dream is that this business will be a legacy for family members generations from now.”

As my brother Chris says, “Being a family owned business gives you the ability to focus on something other than short term profits. You’re working to make a better product and culture for your company and you are not concerned with quarterly returns. Being family owned gives you the ability to focus on excellence and plan for the long term.”

My sister Katie says, “To me, being part of a family-owned business means being part of a close-knit community. Having grown up around the business, I’ve known many of the people who work for the company since I was little, so they feel like family. Being a part of a family-owned business also means that we can operate our company based upon what we value as a family, such as producing high-quality wines, supporting our local communities, and protecting the environment.”

Looking towards the future I hope that consumers will attach a name and history behind our family’s wine. I hope that these interviews can show you the family dedication to the company and the values that we share.