The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2011

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IN MEMORIAM Jess Stonestreet Jackson 1930–2011 J ess Stonestreet Jackson, the wine visionary who popularized Chardonnay in America in the early 1980s with his immediately-success- ful Kendall-Jackson winery and then became a pioneering architect of the ascendant American wine industry, died on April 21 at his Geyserville, California home after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was 81. A one-time longshoreman and police officer, who put himself through University of California Berkeley’s Boalt Hall law school, Jackson became one of the best-known figures in American viticulture, as Kendall-Jackson became the best-selling Chardonnay in America for over two decades. He created his own California distribution company to remain free of industry consolidation there. He was a leader in the sustain- able farming movement within the wine industry, implementing dozens 10 / the tasting panel / may 201 1 of environmentally-friendly farming innovations throughout the vineyards of Jackson Family Wines. As a philan- thropist he and his wife, Barbara Banke, quietly donated millions of dollars in support of local and national charitable organizations. “When my family and I founded Kendall-Jackson in 1982, we simply wanted to create extraordinary wine from California’s best vineyards,” Jackson wrote in his biographical notes. “We grow grapes on our own 14,000 acres of California coastal vineyards. We take the no-compromise, high road approach to quality required to grow our world-class grapes and produce acclaimed award-winning wines. Among the wines made in the Jackson Family collection are Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, Cambria, Stonestreet, Edmeades, La Crema, Cardinale, Lokoya, Hartford Family Winery, Verité, Atalon, Carmel Road, Murphy Goode, La Jota, Freemark Abbey, Bryon Estates, Arrowood, in United States; Château Lassègue in France; Tenuta di Arceno in Italy; Yangarra in Australia; and Calina in Chile. Jackson’s passion for farming and horses led him later in life to Thoroughbred breeding and racing. In 2007, he became majority stakeholder in the racehorse Curlin, who then won Horse of the Year for two consecutive years (2007 and 2008). The following year, Jackson’s filly, Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in 85 years. She also won 2009 Horse of the Year. Jackson is survived by his wife, Barbara Banke; five children, Jennifer Hartford, Laura Giron, Katie Jackson, Julia Jackson and Christopher Jackson; and two grandchildren, Hailey Hartford and MacLean Hartford.

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