Founded in 1982, the Kendall-Jackson story is one of family, quality and stewardship. Jess Jackson purchases an 80-acre pear and walnut orchard and replants it with Chardonnay grapevines in Lake County, just north of Napa Valley. Jesse and family set out to make a premium, yet affordable, California wine. In 1983 Jess sold the first case ever of Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station. That same year, the inaugural vintage of Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay won the first-ever Platinum Award for an American Chardonnay at The American Wine Competition. Kendall-Jackson was officially on the map. The Reagan's insisted on serving California wines at the White House and Nancy loved the taste of Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay. San Francisco Chronicle's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and city icon, Herb Caen, caught wind of the story and wrote a column about the wine referring to the Chardonnay as "Nancy’s wine."
Grand Reserve Collection
In 1986 The Grand Reserve Collection is introduced. Stemming from the success of Vintner's Reserve, Jess debuts a new collection of wines under the Kendall-Jackson label. The Grand Reserve collection is a winemaker’s blend of mountain, ridge, hillside and bench land grapes, grown along California’s cool coastal appellations.
Number 1 selling Chardonnay in the USA
In 1992 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay becomes #1 selling Chardonnay in America, and remains so to this day. In March of 1997, Randy Ullom was named Winemaster for Kendall-Jackson Winery, a distinction he still holds today. Ullom’s unusual title “Winemaster” reflects his intimate involvement in the intricacies of the viticultural and winemaking programs of Kendall-Jackson.
Each year, the editors of Wine Enthusiast honor the individuals and companies that have made outstanding achievements in the wine and beverage world including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Among his major achievements, Jess Jackson was one of the first and largest winemakers to introduce America to varietal-specific wine, not only increasing the public’s understanding and appreciation of wine, but also making it affordable. Therefore Jess Jackson was awarded a lifetime achievement by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
(Source: Kendall Jackson USA)