A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Randy Ullom grew up watching his father make wine at home as a hobby, but it wasn’t until he spent three years on sabbatical from college in Chile, where he embarked on a cross-country trek through wine country, that he realized he wanted to pursue a career in viticulture and enology. After exploring Chile’s vast winegrowing regions, he returned to the United States and earned his degree in the field from The Ohio State University in 1975, graduating summa cum laude.
After six years as a vineyard manager and winemaker in Ohio and upstate New York, Randy moved to California in 1981, where he accepted a position as associate winemaker at DeLoach Vineyards in Sonoma County. He was promoted to winemaker and vice president in 1991, contributing to the winery’s meteoric growth from 10,000 to 120,000 cases. Randy also spearheaded the development of DeLoach’s reserve OFS wines and vineyard-designated Zinfandels. The wines he produced during his tenure were consistent gold medal winners at wine competitions.
In 1993, Randy was hired by Jess Jackson to reopen Edmeades in Mendocino and act as winemaker for the launch of the new Jackson Family label Camelot Vineyards in Central California. That same year, Jess gave him the additional responsibility of heading up a new Chilean operation as founding winemaker and general manager of Viña Calina. Randy also established the company’s vineyards and wine production in Argentina at Bodega Tapiz, followed by starting a project, Yangarra Vineyards and Winery, in McLaren Vale, Australia. In March of 1997, Randy was named Winemaster for Kendall-Jackson Winery as a nod to his intimate involvement in the intricacies of the viticultural and winemaking programs of the brand. In 2006, he also became the Chief Operating Officer, responsible for overseeing the ongoing business operations within the company. Following that stint for a few years, Randy has settled into the continued role of SVP / Winemaster for Kendall-Jackson with oversight of Chile.
When Jess made the first vintage of Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, his goal was simple: He believed that regardless of where you live – whether it be Sonoma County or South Carolina – everyone deserves a great “affordable luxury.” To him this was the great American wine. In 2017, Randy reached a milestone – 25 years working for the Jackson Family – in the same year Kendall-Jackson celebrated 25 years producing America’s number-one selling Chardonnay.
Randy resides close to the vines he tends to in Healdsburg, California. When he’s not making wine, he enjoys canoeing and skiing. And even when he’s off the clock, he says his favorite dish, Dungeness crab, pairs best with Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay.