Hillsides, ridges, benches and slopes. That is where Jess Jackson, our husband, father, grandfather and founder believed grew the finest wine grapes for the most exceptional wines in the world. It is here that we began our journey of wine, family, artistry, and responsible winemaking.
From the Ground Up
We were winegrowers before we were winemakers. Farmers from the beginning, Jess Stonestreet Jackson, Jr. and his family buys an aging orchard in Lake County and plants chardonnay grapes (1974).
Changing the landscape of American wines, Kendall-Jackson debuts with the release of the vintage 1982 Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay. Jess Jackson and his two daughters, Jenny and Laura, begin to hand-sell the wines across the country with great success.
The Jackson Family continues to be the leading producer of chardonnay.
Inspired by the rich traditions of France, Jess establishes a “Flavor Domaine” philosophy, planting individual varieties suited to their terroir, to promote ideal attributes of each grape.
The family purchases part of the historic Tepusquet Vineyard on the Santa Maria Bench and establishes Cambria Estate Winery; the name pays homage to Barbara Banke’s Welsh heritage. (1986). Stonestreet Winery is established in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley (1989).
To directly control the precise quality of its barrels, a key resource, the Jackson family forms a partnership with a stave mill in Northeastern France. This breaks the mold of the barrel world and ensures lasting quality for our wines (1991).
Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve becomes #1 selling Chardonnay in America, a title it has held for 25 years and counting (1992).
The wine continues to be 95 percent barrel fermented, and each barrel is sur lees aged and hand stirred once a month.
Exploring beyond California, the family begins making wine in Chile (1993) and Italy (1994).
Russian River Jewel
Jenny Jackson Hartford, Jess Jackson’s oldest daughter, and her husband Don Hartford establish Hartford Family Winery in the Russian River Valley (1994).
The family’s commitment to mountain fruit deepens with the purchase of Stonestreet Mountain Estate (formerly Gauer Estate) in the Alexander Valley, today recognized as one of the most prestigious mountain vineyards in the world (1995), as well as the W.S. Keyes vineyard on Napa’s Howell Mountain (1996).
Farming for flavor, the family plants vineyards for cool-climate varieties in Monterey (1997).
Vérité 2001 La Muse earns its first 100 point score from Robert Parker, Jr., the first of 15 perfect scores to date for the winery. Remarkably, the entire 2007 vintage received 100 point scores.
Cool Coastal Climates
The family grows its portfolio of storied vineyards and wineries, seeking out high-elevation sites in California’s cool coastal mountains.
Growing a global presence in the most renowned winemaking regions around the world, the family begins making wine in McLaren Vale, South Australia (2000) and St. Emilion, in Bordeaux, France (2003).
Honors and Awards
Jess Stonestreet Jackson’s vision and leadership were honored by Robert Parker, Jr.’s, Wine Personality of the Year award (2003), the Lifetime Achievement award by Wine Enthusiast Magazine (2007), and with his introduction to the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame (2009).
Jess Stonestreet Jackson, 1930-2011
Founder and visionary leader Jess Stonestreet Jackson, Jr. passes away on April 21, 2011. Barbara Banke, Jess' partner in life and in business, is named Chairman. Don Hartford is made Vice Chairman of the company.
All estate vineyards earn certification under the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) program (2010), the company installs its first solar panels (2012) and collaborates on a pilot project with Tesla Energy (2015). The company is named Drinks Business Green Company of the Year (2013), and recognized with the EPA Green Power Leadership Awards (2013, 2016, 2018), California Green Medal Leader Award (2016).
Advancing the Field
The Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building opens at University of California, Davis in 2013. The family committed $4 million to fund the LEED Platinum-Certified teaching and research facility sharing sustainable winemaking best practices with the next generation of winemakers
Exploring New Regions
The family’s commitment to crafting wines with a distinct sense of place continues with its first acquisitions in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (2013) and South Africa (2014).
Barbara Banke is first female to be named Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Personality of the Year (2012) and was honored with Wine Spectator’s Distinguished Service award (2017). Kendall-Jackson named "2017 American Winery of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast. Katie Jackson is selected for the Wine Enthusiast’s annual “40 under 40” highlighting those who are shaping the wine industry (2018).
As the family grows, the children and grandchildren of our founders take their place in the company's leadership, charting a path for the future.