Thursday, April 21, 2011

California Loses A Wine Legend, Jess Jackson Passes Away

This morning we learned that Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson winery, passed away after a battle with cancer. He was is to Sonoma what Robert Mondavi was is to Napa Valley, leading the charge to elevate California wines to levels never before imagined. Over the course of his 81 years with us, his tireless drive and energy inspired Californians and indeed, people from around the world, to produce world class wines while respecting and caring for the land that gives us such a bounty.

I can distinctly remember drinking and selling Kendall-Jackson wines for my entire wine career, even at my current job we stock the chardonnay and pinot noir. One incredibly telling way to determine your brand is successful is when consumers adopt nicknames for your products. I've been hearing "do you sell K-J?" or "I'd like a glass of K-J" for a decade now, evidence that Jess Jackson created something that consumers want and keep wanting. Kendall-Jackson posted a lovely message on their blog offering a way for us to extend our condolences to them and Mr. Jackson's family.

Perhaps his most enduring legacy will be the momentum that he imparted upon this state and its wine culture. I raise a glass to Jess Jackson and thank him for creating something that has so impacted my life and will continue to do so forever. Cheers, Sir. May you rest in peace.

Beau Carufel

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