"When my family and I founded Kendall-Jackson in 1982, we simply wanted to create extraordinary wine from California's best vineyards."
Jess Jackson, visionary winemaker and founder of our company, was noted for popularizing Chardonnay with his Kendall-Jackson Winery and was one of the most successful independent winery owners in the world.
“We believe in the value of hard work, and embrace our responsibility as stewards of the land. Integrity, honesty and innovation are the pillars of our company.”
One of the wine industry’s inspiring leaders and innovators, Kendall-Jackson’s Chairman & Proprietor Barbara R. Banke has spent the last two decades leading the winery she co-founded with her late husband, Jess Jackson.
Don Hartford is Vice Chairman of Jackson Family Wines, and along with Barbara Banke, part of its Board of Directors. He grew up on a small strawberry farm in western Massachusetts, and later attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. To cover the cost of tuition and expenses, Don worked as a "straw boss" on a cigar wrapper tobacco farm, a degreaser in a bicycle factory, and a lifeguard at Congamond Lakes in Massachusetts.
“I’m constantly inspired by the passion, hard work and vision for quality our family has embraced from the very beginning, from the grapes on the vines to the wine in the bottle.”
Jennifer (Jenny) Jackson Hartford, Jess Jackson’s oldest daughter, started working in the family business as a teenager. More than 40 years ago, in the 1970s, she and her sister Laura helped plant the family’s first vineyard in Lake County California. Jenny traveled extensively across the United States to make initial presentations and promotions of the new and, at the time, little-known Kendall-Jackson wines.
“I was captivated by winegrowing from the very beginning. As farmers, as vintners, caring for the land has always been important to me.”
Laura Jackson Giron, Jess Jackson’s daughter, was Kendall-Jackson’s first employee, working out of the winery’s office in the Jackson family’s basement in the early 1980s. She was known as a “Jackson of all trades,” working in accounting, hospitality, marketing and sales. She found her true passion while helping to plant the family’s first vineyard in Lake County California with her sister, Jenny, which holds true today.
Raised amongst the vineyards of Sonoma County, Katie was exposed to wine from as far back as she can recall. Not content to idle away her teenage summers, Katie started working in the family business in high school. “My first harvest was in Alexander Valley at our Stonestreet Winery working in the cellar,” Katie says. “I learned the basics of winemaking from the bottom up, cleaning the tanks and filters, making yeast preparations and supervising maceration.”
Christopher Jackson, youngest son of Barbara Banke and the late Jess Jackson says, “Even though I’m the youngest child, my mom and dad made sure I had the same experiences in the family business as my sisters growing up.”
“We have to think about what's best not just for the health of our land and people in the short term, but what decisions can we make now that will ensure we are here for 200 years.”
Hailey Jackson Hartford Murray has winemaking in her blood. As granddaughter of Jackson Family Wines founder Jess Jackson, and daughter of Jennifer Jackson Hartford and Don Hartford, she’s been immersed in the wine business since childhood.
“The legacy that my family built before me brings a huge sense of pride, and it’s my generation’s duty to preserve that legacy for years to come.”
MacLean is the first-born grandson of Jess Jackson, the late founder of Jackson Family Wines. His parents, Don Hartford and Jenny Jackson Hartford, established Hartford Family Winery three years before he was born, so his childhood home was surrounded by century-old Zinfandel vines. He grew up attuned to the rhythms and seasonal changes of the vineyards, the intricacies of the wine industry, and the excitement of harvest.