We’re always looking for the next perfect wine or great vineyard. That prospect of making something really spectacular, discovering something new is what motivates me.
One of the industry’s top executives and innovators, Jackson Family Wines Chairman & Proprietor Barbara R. Banke has spent the last two decades leading the company she co-founded with her late husband, wine icon Jess Jackson.
In addition to their flagship Kendall-Jackson winery, Banke and Jackson shaped nearly two dozen premium wineries across Sonoma, Napa, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Mendocino counties. Today, the Jackson Family portfolio is a global collection of world-class vineyards and wineries, including acclaimed properties in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, France, Italy, Chile, Australia, and South Africa. Banke takes a hands-on role developing and promoting Jackson Family wine estates, as well as in new vineyard acquisitions and a broad range of other strategic initiatives.
A well-known philanthropist, Banke is a passionate advocate for children’s and educational charities around the country. Most recently she was the Chair of the Sonoma County Wine Auction raising a record breaking $5.2 million for the local community. She and Jackson committed nearly $4 million to the Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building at UC Davis, designed to train the next generation of winemakers in sustainability practices. In addition, Banke and her family contributed $500,000 to help launch the Family Justice Center Sonoma County, assisting victims of domestic violence. She is also a global ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
When she is not sourcing new vineyard sites, Banke is active in Stonestreet Farm, the family’s Lexington, Kentucky-based equestrian racing stables. Stonestreet Farms has produced Horses of the Year Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, as well as Eclipse Award winner Good Magic and Cartier Award winner My Miss Aurelia.
Banke is a graduate of UCLA and Hastings Law School. A former land use and constitutional law attorney, she spent more than a decade arguing cases before the United States Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal. She raised three children with Jess (Katherine, Julia and Christopher Jackson), who are each involved in Jackson Family Wines.