Jess Jackson, a titan of the California wine industry died today at his home in Geyserville, California after a long battle with cancer. He was 81 years old.
Building on his highly successful Kendall-Jackson brand, Jackson and his wife, Barbara Banke built a prestigious empire of wineries in California and abroad, including Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, Cambria, Stonestreet, Edmeades, La Crema, Cardinale, Lokoya, Hartford Family Winery, Verite, Atalon, Carmel Road, Murphy Goode, La Jota, Freemark Abbey, Bryon Estates and Arrowood in the United States; Chateau Lassegue in France; Tenuta di Arceno in Italy; Yangarra in Australia; and Calina in Chile.
Jackson believed that California’s best wines would come from high altitude sites, and that controlling his own vineyards was the key to making great wines.
He was inducted into the California Vintner’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
In his later years, Jackson focused on thoroughbred racing, assembling a highly successful stable that included Curlin (named Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008) and the filly Rachel Alexandra (Horse of the Year in 2009).
Written by Tim Teichgraeber