Kendall-Jackson Blog > Family > Jess Jackson Passes Away, A Letter To Our Friends And Family

Jess Jackson Passes Away, A Letter To Our Friends And Family

Jess Stonestreet Jackson

Dear Friends,

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Jess Stonestreet Jackson, who died in his sleep today after a long, courageous battle with cancer.

Jess Jackson was that rare individual whose vision, perseverance and work ethic transformed an entire industry. A truly self-made man, his legacy will endure, inspiring all those who believe that being successful in business does not mean that one must compromise those basic values: family, hard work, integrity and stewardship of the land.

Raised in San Francisco during the Great Depression, Jackson started the Kendall-Jackson wine business with the 1974 purchase of an 80-acre pear and walnut orchard in Lakeport, California that he converted to a vineyard.

In 1982, he produced his first bottle under the Kendall-Jackson label using a batch of grapes that went unsold.  This decidedly unique wine was an instant hit.  Nearly thirty years later, Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay remains America’s favorite Chardonnay and Jackson Family Wines is among the World’s most successful family owned winery groups, comprised of more than thirty five individual wineries.

As so many of you know, this is a family run company.  Jess was particularly proud that his children now work actively alongside his wife Barbara Banke.  Together they will ensure that his legacy is carried on for generations to come.

We would like to hear from you if you ever met Jess Jackson, have a story, or just loved his wines.  Please post a comment here on our blog or send us an email at

Take a moment this week to a lift a glass and join us in a toast to our friend and founder, Jess Jackson.

-The Kendall-Jackson Team


  • Thomas

    My family and I were so sad to hear of Jess Jackson’s passing today, as Kendall Jackson held a very special place in the hearts of both myself and my wife, Debbie. It was over a bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay, bought at the same Kroger’s we’ve been going to for twenty five years, that I proposed to my wife. It was over that same bottle that she said yes. Debbie and I kept that empty bottle, which we still have in our memory box, and still have it today. From myself, Debbie, our sons Jimmy and Brian, we send our deepest sympathies to the Jackson family and everyone at Kendall Jackson. Thank you for twenty five years of memories and great wine.

  • Todd

    This is very sad. I had the pleasure of meeting Jess a couple of years ago. He had the vision of few and the wisdom fewer. I will never forget his german shepard following me around the Home/office all afternoon. Jess asked me why his dog had taken favor to me and I replied I have no idea. Turns out I was calling the dog buddy, like anyone would call a friendly dog. That was his name. We laughed. It was a good time and a memory to keep.

    Godspeed Jess.

  • Irby Wood

    Jess was one of the greatest individuals of his time. He will be greatly missed. His wine legacy is unsurpassed and he will continue to be an inspiration to all of us in the wine industry.

    • Suzy Hayes


      My condolences on the loss of your Uncle Jess. So sad.

      Instead of focusing on the loss, I’m trying to remember all of the fun times we had with him, like at the Kentucky Derby drinking those awful Mint Juleps and watching Curlin run.

      My thoughts are with all of his family, friends and Jackson Family Wines employees throughout the years.

      - Suzy Hayes

    • Linda Moyers


      I miss him and you too. May your family be blessed through an abundance of good memories, mine have risen up today, I wish yours rise up as well. May they shower all of you with peace. Give my love to the family. Linda

    • frederique mary

      big hug irby to you and everyone at kj
      its been a long time. unfortunate to re-connect under the circumstances.

    • Tara Henrickson Sharp

      My love to you, Laura and the kiddos

  • Amanda Simmons Luby

    You have my sincerest condolences of Mr. Jackson’s passing. He was larger than life. I can only imagine the grief that is being felt by the Kendall Jackson team, his wife, Barbara, and his children. There is much to celebrate about his great life. If there were only words enough to express them….
    Tim and Amanda (Simmons) Luby
    Orlando, FL
    (Thoroughbred racing enthusiasts)

  • Tim McNally

    I hope that the entire Jackson family will accept my humble note of condolence on the passing of an American icon.

    Mr. Jackson was important to the American Wine Industry, and he was important to all the communities in which his businesses were located. He and Barbara were generous people and they were committed to excellence.

    We will miss him but the path on which he traveled is now open and ready to accept the next generations. Thank you, Mr. Jackson.

  • Donald Crutch

    We heard of Jess Jackson passing today.

    On behalf of the National Pink Tie Organization our deepest sympathies are with the family, and the family of Kendall Jackson.
    Our Mission: Men supporting the fight against cancer.

    We will push for a cure!

  • ReneMarie Johnson

    Jess Jackson was always putting his energy and thoughts towards his “work” family. He was so generous with his time and energy towards my brother Chris, one of his winemakers, who had died of pancreatic cancer two years ago. Jess and the Kendall Jackson “family” have always shown such great ethics in their style of staying “family” despite how big and successful they have become.

  • Charlene Shaw

    As I remember Mr. Jackson, a moment at the end of the television mini – series “Lonesome Dove” comes to mind. A young reporter finds Captain Woodrow Call walking the dusty main street and asks him for an interview, telling him “…they say you are a man of vision!” Call looks at the reporter, remembering his life with his partner and best friend Gus McCrae…pauses, and answers, “A man of vision you say? Yeah, a hell of a vision.”

    Mr. Jackson was a man of real vision, a grand “hell of a vision” – he truly deserves to be remembered as a man true to his ethics, his code and his dreams. Like McCrae and Call – there are not many like him around anymore. He will be missed. My sympathies to his family and to the industry he loved and hoped to bring back to glorious life in sport.

  • Lee Miller

    My personal and our company condolences to the Jackson Family and Family of Wineries. His presence in the US Wine Industry has been monumental and will be remembered as the “mover and shaker”.

    Personally, his love of all things equine touched my heart and I will remember him for both of these connections.

  • Holly

    My first thought was sadness that he won’t get to see the precious and invaluable foal from the mating of Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and Horse of the Year Curlin. It was his determination and foresight that sent those two horses on their incomparable successes on the racetrack and then brought them together to carry on their championship lineage.

    The racing industry will miss him.

    • Karen Rhodes

      My sincere condolences to the Jackson family and the many friends of this great and generous man.

      I drank my first bottle of Rachel Alexandra pinot noir on the night she was chosen Horse of the Year. I bought another bottle last October for my 60th birthday. I am saving this superb wine to open on the night Rachel’s first foal is born. I will drink the first toast to the man who gave us her bold, brilliant championship year and Curlin’s four year-old campaign.

  • Mary Cohen

    Our prayers are with the Jackson family with the passing of a legend.
    It is a privilege to work with our company; Jess will be missed.
    We take this day to reflect on him and his accomplishments.
    Here’s to continued successes in his honor. .

  • Barbara Livingston

    My sincere condolences to Mr. Jackson’s family on his passing.

    He brought great energy to the horse racing game, and I will always be grateful to him for choosing such an ambitious schedule for Rachel Alexandra. She did things I have never seen a filly do – nor do I expect to see again in my lifetime. And the few times I approached Mr. Jackson, he was very nice – and generous with his time. We were fortunate that he found the sport of interest.

    Wishing you all the best during this difficult time.

  • Robin & Darrell

    There is always a bottle of Kendall Jackson wine in our house – always! And there will continue to be a bottle of KJ wine in our house. Each time we open one, we will take a moment to toast the life & passion of an amazing winemaker.
    His spirit will live forever through his wines…

  • Steven Tyre

    I will always respect Mr. Jackson for his attempts to bring honesty and integrity to the throughbred horse industry. He was truly a man of his word and expected others to do the same. The horse world has lost a real friend.

    Steven Tyre

  • Bob Singer

    I was saddened to learn of the passing of Jess. I very much enjoyed my time at KJ and working with and getting to know Jess.
    I know that his passing is a blow to our industry and that his legacy will live on with what he has done.
    My condolences are with his family and the KJ family.

  • Tim McDonald

    One of the great wine guys ever. Although saddened by his passing, His footprint and path in the wine industry will be felt for decades to come. From my family to the Jackson family our prayers and best wishes. What a sad day, I remember once in 1999 Jess said to me (when I was @ Geyser Peak) “I see you all came in first place in the recap of medals putting KJ in second place for the year. Next year we’ll be back in first place so enjoy it while you can” He was right and KJ returned to the position of 1st place the next year. My condolances to the family and the whole Jackson team present and past.

  • Karen Schuppert

    We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Jess’ passing. Both Jay and I send heartfelt sympathies to Barbara and the entire Jackson family, which includes so many of our former co-workers. Jess was an incredible inspiration. He was a man of conviction who was steadfast in his beliefs and passions as he challenged others to join him on the ride. He had a profound impact on me professionally and to this day I carry many fond memories of my time under his leadership.
    I can see him now in the big vineyard in the sky, sharing a glass of wine with my father – Herb Jackson – who died last year of cancer as well.
    We salute you, Cousin Jess, and thank you for your shining light.

  • Jo Diaz

    I have to thank Mr. Jackson, because during the time between leaving the world of “employee” to creating our own independent PR person, it was K-J that hired me as an educator for the visitor’s center. During those days, K-J helped me to put bread on the table… It was that important to have that job. I don’t know how I would have made it during those lean times, without that job. It allowed me to launch my career.

    I knew that Jess was a larger then life figure; everyone could see it as he would emerge from being in a meeting upstairs and come walking down to the tasting room. But, as big as he had become, he still sincerely cared for his staff at the visitors center. He knew that we were his gateway to the company.

    Jess always had such style and grace. Regardless of his physical larger-than-life stature, that wasn’t what made him larger then life. He just had a very important, destined-for-great-things aura about him.

    Jess has left a huge mark within the wine industry, and many of us will be forever grateful. My heart goes out to his family at this time. May you take comfort in knowing that you are in our hearts and prayers.

    Jess… Here’s to you and how you impacted my life without even knowing it.

  • Jeffrey Roy, CS

    Another giant and visionary of the wine industry has left us. Heartfelt condolences to family and friends.

  • Stephanie Lambert

    Jess Jackson was a remarkable man, he took risks and made chances where no other would have. I watched him give Curlin and Rachael all the room to grow and make their destiny their own under his watchful eyes. It was an honor to have been able to see him and his horses …. Via Con Dios…..

  • Kelly O’Brien

    My fondest memory of Jess Jackson: I once drove him from Chalk Hill back to his office on his birthday. He sat up front w/ me and chatted with me the whole way back. When I dropped him off at “The Redwoods” he asked, “Have you ever been up here?” When I replied no, he took the time to personally show me around the beautiful building and grounds, including the sculpture of the mountain lion. I’ll never forget that.

  • John Corcoran

    Sending all my thoughts & prayers to Barbara, the kids, and to all my friends and former colleagues. Jess made a significant difference in our industry. May his impact be long felt. Headed out to buy a bottle of Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay to toast Jess at sunset this evening …. Cork

  • Julie Rosenau

    I met Jess at VINEXPO several years ago when I worked for Doug and LuAnn Meador. I truly enjoyed talking to him. Thank you Jess for all your hard work in the wine industry and for your help in placing Monterey County on the wine map!
    Julie Rosenau

  • Jim Caudill

    It was a privilege to know Jess, and I was fortunate to see a caring, compassionate side that was not always evident, simply because he was very private in so many ways, never seeking attention for his good works. He inspired me and challenged me, but always with good purpose. My deepest sympathies are with the family, and I’m excited, as I know he would be, about the achievements yet to come. God speed.

  • D.G.Thompson

    For Mr.Jackson’s wife, Barbara Banke, his children, family, friends, business associates and all of the Stonestreet team–those that have known this self made man, this very private man and all that he achieved in his lifetime, there’s tremendous sadness this day. I have drank your wine for many years. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch your horses run. Most importantly, though, I realize the legacy you leave the world of Thoroughbred Racing. Mr.Jackson, to all of us that have held such respect, you will be terribly missed. You’ve given much. Rest now. Peace be with you.

  • Kelly Hayes

    From the shores of Hanalei, to the backstretch at Churchill Downs to the hills of Lake County and in countless vineyards throughout the world there is sadness at the passing of a great man. Known by most for popularizing one of the worlds great grapes and by others for changing the face of racing Jess Stonestreet Jackson lived more lives in his 81 years than an army of mortals. Once in a generation do people come along who accomplish as much as Jess.
    Well done Jess, well done.

  • Lisa Morse-Cleaver

    I am deeply saddened to hear of Jess’ passing. I worked for Jess for 7 years and remember my days at KJ fondly. While a tough business man, he was always very kind and fatherly to me. When I was very ill he did everything he could to help me and I will be forever grateful for that. My heart goes out to Barbara and the children and the rest of the family. Jess will be missed.

  • Audrey Kendrick

    I just loved his wine. I was sitting at a bar in Reston, VA with a friend, we had a glass of Kendall Jackson Collage, I think that was the name? I am not sure now. We then ordered a bottle and I was hooked on KJ.

  • Babette Cade

    I am so sorry to read of Mr. Jackson’s passing. Not only have I enjoyed his wines over the years, but his racing stable too. How remarkable a man and an owner on which all others should be patterned. A veritable sportsman and wine industry icon. The remarkable fruits of his labor have been enjoyed by so many and I enjoyed them while we had ‘em. God Bless.

  • Julian Frost III

    To all of the Jackson Family, both near and far with the passing of your husband, father, friend and mentor…

    On a personal note please accept our sincere condolences, as Terri and I are sadden by the loss of one of the greatest winemakers and businessmen on a global basis in Jess Jackson as his legacy will endure generations to follow…

    Julian Frost III & Terri Schultz
    Atlanta, Georgia

  • Timothy A. Smith

    I had the honor to speak with Mr. Jackson on several occasions, during my career in the Wine Business, and to represent his fine portfilio of wines.
    One word that comes to mind, is brillant, and as always mention he was a tough business man, but thought long term of what this industry needed to grow.
    His legacy will live on, and his name is now permanently sealed with the ranks, like Robert Mondavi, August Sebastiani, Ernest and Julio Gallo, and many others. We need more persons like him in our Industry, but also as a caring Human Being.

    Our Prayers, to out to your entire Family, Friends and Associates, and tonight Penny, My Wife and I going to open a bottle of Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon, and relive the memories of knowing you, working with you…and missing you!

  • Sharon E Jones

    I had the pleasure of meetings Jess on a few occasions, and his advise always pushed me to to do, and expect more of my career in the wine industry. Jess you will be missed.


    My mother, Elizabeth Kress Hunt went to high school and Cal with Jess. She always spoke fondly of him. Our condolences to the Jackson family.

  • Sharla Sanders

    Its is a sad day for racing, Mr. Jackson cast a large figure over Thoroughbred Racing and whether you agree with all he did or not, he did help change the complexion of racing for the past few years.

    His campaign of Curlin was so good for racing, showed that a world class Grade 1 colt did not have to be hustled off to the breeding shed early on…instead he gave the fans what they wanted another year of a thrill ride.
    He campaigned Rachel Alexandra the same way and in doing so “created” an air for a rivalry (whether real or perceived) between his classy filly and Zenyatta. We in racing are saddened by your loss.

    Time to toast a Vinter Reserve Chardonnay to him, his family and to his race horses!

  • The Kents

    We send our condolances to the family and friends. Mr. Jackson was a special person, and he will be missed,

  • Jill Shubel

    Jess was a true visionary. I count my years as an employee of Kendall-Jackson as my education of the wine industry. My thoughts are with you all during this time of sadness. May your memories bring you peace and comfort.

  • Jim Pollock

    I worked for KJ in the early part of my career and I always appreciated the opportunities I had thanks to the KJ family. Everything Jess touched became successful due to his hard work and dedication. The wine industry as a group owes him for all he has done to bring more wine drinkers into our community.


  • Craig Gummer

    Undaunted, robust, and larger than life. A creator, an innovator, and a nurturer. It was a life very well lived. Thank you for the experience to share in part of that, and peaceful blessings upon the family. Skål, be at rest.

  • nancy doyle

    Jess was a man of great vision & energy-so full of life-always with that great smile–I knew him best as a man who treasured his wife and children above all-a man generous of spirit who gave so much to all of us–I am grateful full to have known such a good man-my thoughts & prayers go out to the family….Nancy Doyle

  • Pattie

    My Deepest Sympathy to the Jackson Family & Friends. Mr. Jackson was a courageous leader in the Horseracing industry. I will always be grateful of the way he campaigned The Mighty Curlin and Rachel Alexandra. Thank You for the exciting years of racing. God Bless You, Mr. Jackson and your family.

  • Vickie Willmuth

    I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jackson. But he helped make a dream come true for me. I saw his horse, Curlin, race at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. Curlin went on to win the Preakness in 2007, the first horse I had the privledge to see race live then go on to win one of the classic races. He also gave me the thrill of seeing a filly win the Preakness, in 2010, Rachel Alexandra. I am sure he was looking forward to the Curlin/Rachel Alexandra foal, he will watch over it now from heaven. Mr. Jackson will be greatly missed in the world of racing. He presented the perfect image of an owner–caring, friendly and above all a gentleman.
    My deepest sympathies to (as we say in racing) all of his “connections” human and equine. My prayers are with you.

  • Rob Thiessen

    Mr. J taught me more about horses and vines during a three minute car ride then I could have learned in books. I will miss him.

  • George Ronay

    Raise a glass to the memory of Jess! I was working at Wine Warehouse in Los Angeles the first year that Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay hit the “big time,” and it was amazing to watch that brand build momentum. He hit the “sweet spot” in more ways than one – and he almost single-handedly built the category. My condolences to Barbara and the family. While your loss now is intense, you can take comfort in knowing that Jess is in a better place and that you will always have the memories of the times you shared.

  • Edward Schulz

    Always the head-turning, charismatic presence when he entered the room, I thought of him personally, and whether my work measured up to his standards, whenever I was privileged to serve any of the family wineries.
    Now my memories of that connection will help guide my step, in the way I remember, and respect Ernest Gallo, Robert Mondavi, and Fess Parker. Impressive, dedicated, passionate family men who set a high bar for those who follow. Not lavish with praise, but at heart, a pleasure to work for. I’ll miss Mr. Jackson, but treasure the memories.

  • Fran

    He will get to see the young foal. His spirit will be with all of you and his heart at the rail and in your great fields. After all everyone knows God reads the Daily Race form and I’m sure will ask Mr. Jackson his opinion of the next race!

  • Jennifer Weigand

    I’m truly sorry to hear of Mr. Jackson’s passing. I won’t just remember him for his wonderful wines, but I will remember him for what he brought to Horse Racing! I was SO PRIVILEGED to see Rachel in the Haskell! I was SO PRIVILEGED to see Curlin at Belmont on the turf! And now, we have the legacy of the foal of Curlin’s which is growing inside beautiful Rachel…thank you, Jess Jackson. I’m glad you saw these two remarkable horses get Horse of the Year. You will always be remembered fondly by me as being a huge Promoter of Horse Racing – the sport I love with the most majestic of creatures on the face of the planet! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

    My condolences to Ms. Banke and all of his family and friends…may you be blessed with strength in this time of grief. He leaves behind quite a legacy! We should all be so inspired to do a portion in our lives of what he did in his! Bless you all!

  • David

    My renewed interest in horse racing is brief, and in that time, my favorite memories are when I traveled to New York to see The Mighty Curlin pass $10M, and driving to Monmouth to see the brilliant Rachel Alexandra. As is the case with people who say what they mean, and follow what they say with their actions, he wasn’t always popular. But, years from now when my wife and I open our limited edition bottle of Rachel Alexandra wine, my first toast will be to Mr. Jackson. God Bless.

  • sondra

    I was really saddened to read of his death this morning. And though I never met him, his wines were bigger than life for me. I had photographed his 2nd vintage chardonnay, 1983, through the microscope and it was one of the first prints sold. It was a real beauty and I’ve used that image as an iconic buttery chardonnay ever since. Jess was himself an icon, the last one of the generation of people who grew our American wine industry. Prayers to Barbara and the family who shared his life and of course, a toast to him.

  • Sharon Goldman

    Jess was one of most creative, curious and brillant men I will ever have the good fortune to meet. He was a stong (and I readily admit – often difficult!) mentor who drove me take chances and grow my career to heights that I may have otherwise failed to reach. His vision and great smille will be missed. My best wishes to all the family. Sharon

  • Kathryn

    Mr. Jackson embodied all that was great in an induvidual. He was charismatic, kind, and pull 100% into everything. His legacy in the world of Thoroughbred racing will live on in the sons and daughters of his two champions, Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, who Mr. Jackson believed in. His silks, his name, and his kind and gentle greatness will live on in the annals of racing, and in our hearts, forever. Rest in peace, Mr. Jackson. You earned it.

    “May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.May the sun shine warm upon your face.May the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, May the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand.”

  • Chill

    So sorry to here of the great loss to your family at this time.. Although, I never had the please of meeting him in person.. His passion for the thoroughbred and it’s the health of the thoroughbred was outstanding, which made me a great follower of his words.. As I am from Kentucky, I know what a great impact he had on our industry here and he will be sorely missed.. Prayers for strength and comfort to the family at this time…

  • Edward Schulz

    Always the head-turning, charismatic presence when he entered the room, I thought of him personally, and whether my work measured up to his standards, whenever I was privileged to serve any of the family wineries.
    Now my memories of that connection will help guide my step, in the way I remember, and respect Ernest Gallo, and Fess Parker. Impressive, dedicated, passionate family men who set a high bar for those who follow. Not lavish with praise, but at heart, a pleasure to work for. I’ll miss Mr. Jackson, but treasure the memories, and try harder to learn his last lesson.

  • Pearson’s Wine of atlanta

    We at Pearson’s extent a heart felt gratitude to the man and the brand. He did more to shake up the U.S. wine industry than any other and we all owe a deep amount debt as he made everyone in this business strive for a bigger piece of the pie.

  • Noelle

    My condolences to the Jackson family, of course, but my first (selfish) thought was – what a huge loss to America’s racing fans. I can’t think of another owner who would have given fans the gift Mr. Jackson gave us when he let his Horse of the Year, Curlin, come back to the track and race as a 4-year-old. And his willingness to take on the racing establishment and tell the plain truth was so admirable. He cared about the sport, not the politics, and he left racing better than he found it.

  • Mary Richter

    I owe this man so much.

    I backed off from my love of horse racing with my tail between my legs after watching the great Ruffian breakdown many years ago. Didn’t want to hurt like that again. Ever. It took many years before I was able to watch just the 3 three year old classics and then only if I didn’t have something else going on those three race days.

    Until Curlin.

    I was sitting in a sports bar with my husband to watch the Kentucky Derby when I first saw Curlin walking in the post parade. That physique. That pleasant intelligent expression. Curlin had me at hello before I had ever seen him race a step. The rest is history.

    When I heard that Curlin was entered in the Woodward at Saratoga I drove all night and slept in my car to see him. I have never yet seen a late kick equivalent to his. Un-be-liev-able. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. What an amazing body of work that horse delivered without a single vet bill.

    Just when I was wondering if there would ever be another horse on par with Curlin, Rachel Alexandra stepped on to the stage with a winning margin record in the Kentucky Oaks and was purchased by this same great sportsman who showcased Curlin .. and that little lady ran right off the pages of the history books to heights untouched and clean.

    Thank you Jess.

    I will never be the same after watching Rachel effortlessly dominate top colts in the Haskell, and plumb the very depths of courage in her historic Woodward Stakes. You don’t dare even dream of horses doing stuff like this.

    There simply are no words to describe the magnitude of the gift Jess Jackson gave to horse racing.

    I just wish that Jess could have lived to have seen the foal from Rachel and Curlin and to enjoy seeing where a horse named McClean’s Music will take him.

    I am so sad today. And so grateful. There will always be an assortment of KJ wines in this house reminding us of a very great man.

    Condolences to the family. Condolences to us all.

    • Kathy

      you said it best
      JJ you will be missed

  • Peter Fanucchi

    For a time I had I was able to eat at his table with him in Family, Social, and Wine Business related occasions. I know Jess was a genuinely, good, compassionate human being.
    God Bless You Jess!

  • Tasha Kelley-Stiles

    As a wine enthusiast and horse racing fan, I am deeply saddened by the loss of Jess Jackson. His vision and dedication to both the wine and horse racing industries will always be an inspiration. I look forward to his legacy being carried on with Rachel and Curlin’s foal and through his family’s continued passion for horse racing and Kendall Jackson. My deepest condolences to his family and all those that knew, loved and/or respected him.

  • Sheila Lyons DVM

    Meeting Mr. Jackson was like being swept up in a whirlwind of enthusiastic ambition and a “can-do” worldview. His committment to improve standards and instill ethics and integrity in horse racing became a force the industry had to reckon with. He will be sorely missed and never forgotten. My heartfelt condolences are with his family and friends.

  • Joshua Pedroli


  • Pam Clark

    I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Jess Jackson’s death. Rachel Alexandra and Curlin are my two most favorite horses. I am so grateful that Mr. Jackson showed the world what exceptional horses they are. I know he will be watching over them and will rejoice with the birth of his dream. I was so excited to see Rachel Alexandra on her first Fan Day. Mr. Jackson allowed my dream to come true. Not only did I get to stand in the presence of Rachel, but I got to touch and love her! God’s blessings and my sorrow to all of Mr. Jackson’s family. Love, Pam Clark

  • Kelley Jones

    My condolences go out to the entire Jackson family. Jess was an amazing man, he was charming and generous, a teacher at heart. A man of conviction, committed to making a difference when a difference was necessary, taking a stand on so many important issues.
    He was a great mentor to me and so many others that have been a part of the extended K-J family. He will be missed in so many ways but his incredible legacy will live on.

  • Alexandra

    R.I.P. Jess Jackson you were a great man. You truely loved the sport of Horse racing. and loved your beloved Horses. you will be greatly missed by everyone and your horses. may you rest in peace and always look down on your horses as they thunder down the racetrack.

    Love Alexandra Boyd
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

  • Bill O’Connor

    It is almost impossible to put into words or phrases anything even remotely close to describing Jess….Leader, Visionary, Family Man, are but a few that come to mind….

    I have had the pleasure of spending 15 years working for Jess and can truly say while he was a serious, hard charging, and EXTREMELY hard working man, he was also a caring, generous, fatherly type, for many of us at Jackson Family Wines. The great memories of ” land, brand, and people” will never be forgotten.

    At the end of spending a full day with Jess, whether it was to discuss or learn about pricing, sales, cogs, marketing, whatever it may have been, I always enjoyed telling him — “You wore me out. I am thankful I didn’t meet you until your late 60′s!! I can’t imagine running around with you while you were in your heyday!!” Aside from bringing a smile to his face he knew it was the honest truth. Jess was without a doubt the most dedicated, hard working, and smartest person I have ever met. We were lucky to have been touched by him.

    My condolences to the entire family. We will miss you Jess.

  • Susan Kayne

    Jess made the thoroughbred world a better place. Rachel’s Woodward win at Saratoga was spectacular, not only for her, but for what it did for racing enthusiasts. Jess, you inspire me to perservere with my dreams. At many a low point I read an article about you or googled a video that made the difference between going on or giving up. Godspeed my racing hero. Heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy to the Jackson family.

  • Mark Osmun

    My fondest memory of Jess Jackson is not about wine or about horses: it is about surfing. We had met at his Alexander Mountain offices to discuss some ads I was doing and we wandered into a room where upon one wall hung a beautiful surfboard. I recognized the designer of the board and remarked on it. From that point on, we talked of only surfing. We had mutual surf friends in Hawaii. Mr. Jackson had been instructed by the legendary Duke Kahanamoku and had been in school with big-wave pioneer Fred Van Dyke (a former science teacher of mine). His eyes lighted when recalling his days body surfing. He waved off someone who’d come in to tell him of another pending meeting. For those moments, the stresses of maintaining his enterprises disappeared and we shared, in our imaginations, memories of simple beauties. Jess Jackson was a man of many facets: a dynamic figure the likes of which we will not soon see again. To the Jackson family: I am very sorry for the loss we now share.

  • Tracy Lee

    I only admired Mr. jackson from afar. I loved his wines but more so his passion with race horses. Watching Curlin and Rachael run helped make magical years for me.
    I lost my father three weeks and certainly can appreciate the loss you feel. May God bless you and help you through this very difficult time. My father used to take my 3 yoa daughter for icecream and would dress her in a little yellow dress. She wore a yellow dress to his funeral and we went for ice cream after the service, I plan to take her for ice cream often. I hope you have a fond memory that can be a regular memory of Mr. Jackson.
    I am very sorry for your loss.

  • An Authentic Life

    As a Sonoma County native, I send my condonlences to the Jackson family.

  • Candace J Serviss

    I know there will be one more star in heaven tonight and even though its far away its brightness and warmth will still reach us here to make the night less dark. You will be missed Mr Jackson..

    • Jeremey D

      Thank You Jess,
      RIP without you RA wouldnt even be known and would have never had the best 3yr old campaign of any filly ever. Without you we would have gotten to see Curlin run as an older horse….I am a huge standardbred fan and money always wins out, but you did things that were for the good of the sport. If all owners were like JJ the industry would be thriving. I hope your family celebrates your life and its long list of victories…

  • Eric Kords

    Dear Jackson Family/Friends: Never having personally met Mr. Jackson but seeing him often at thoroughbred race events, I feel a humbling sense of loss today for several reasons. Most notably, I could tell that this proud man was struggling with the symptoms of cancer recently since I lost my own father to this disease last January. Yet he had the courage to never complain about his physical limitations or struggles and didn’t let it stop him from ambitious journeys with first Curlin and then Rachel Alexandra, where he was present for nearly every race.

    Also let me remind all that Mr. Jackson was particularly concerned with making positive changes in our equine community concerning the transparency of commissions and fees in horse auctions. Having just purchased a two-year old at public auction myself, it’s reassuring that someone has taken “the institution” to task. This unscrupulous behavior by more than just a few parties has kept countless potential owners – and dollars – from entering our beloved sport. Here is a quote on the topic from Arthur Hancock, Jr., a famed Kentucky breeder, published in a 2006 New York Times article by Joe Drape. “We don’t do that and have lost business because of it. When you tell them no, you understand that they are never coming back to buy one of your horses. Honest sellers can’t compete with those who cheat. I’m a fourth-generation horseman, and I’m ashamed that a winemaker has to clean up our sport.”

    A sad start to my day indeed, which happens to be my wedding anniversary. But perhaps tonight during a nice candlelit dinner with my wife, better memories will surface. Memories like that special September day in 2009 when Jess and I were two of the 31,171 fans in attendance to witness Rachel Alexandra’s perfection – a day that perhaps even Jess counted as one of his best. Thus, I will remember this man as a jubilant champion! And tonight I will raise a toast to Jess (and to my wife, of course) with what else – a glass of Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve! Godspeed my friend.
    Eric Kords, Dallas, TX

  • Steve Thomas

    It is very sad to hear about Jess’s passing. My condolences to all of his family and friends. Jess was a man of his times in that he saw and oppurtunity as a small gower in tough times and turned it into what Kendall Jackson is today. I was lucky to have worked in many of his vineyards and with the very talented people he had in his organization. Jess was the vision and energy that we all tried to keep up with. Best of luck and sympathy to all of the Kendall Jackson family.

  • Debbie W.

    My heartfelt condolences go out to the Jackson family at this time. I thank Jess for his tremendous contribution to both the wine and equine industries (from a racing and breeding standpoint). What a remarkable man! At a KJ wine industry event, I remember both of us escaping the “wine chit chat” for horse talk. I was just getting into the sport as an owner and my horse was off to her first stakes race…. around the beginning of Curlin’s campaign to greatness – it was amazing to watch him light up as he discussed the colt and its future ….Between Curlin and Rachel Alexandra’s campaign, as well as Jess’ focus on responsible breeding for longevity in racing….I raise a glass! I am certain that Mr Jackson will be watching when his legacy (foal of Curlin out of Rachel Alexandra) races around that track in 2014!

  • Jay Schuppert

    I’m saddened to hear the news of Jess and my thoughts are with the entire family and K-J team. I had the good fortune of working for Jess for 7 years from 1990 until 1997. Those were glorious days and I’ll never forget the opportunity I was given by Jess to grow and create within the K-J organization. I would not be running a Napa Valley winery had it not been for Jess Jackson. He always challenged his team to perform to higher levels and yet now one worked harder than Jess. He will be missed.

  • Justin

    My thoughts are with the Jackson family today. It is an honor to have known, worked and cooked for such a truly amazing and inspiring man. Jw

  • brian clarke

    Jess was my “Uncle Jack”. My siblings and I were always fascinated by his study/office as children. We used to jokingly call him Uncle Nick sometimes, because he had a resemblance to Nick Barkley on the Big Valley.
    One year I spent xmas vacation at their Hillsborough house. Uncle jack was always very nice to me as a kid.
    My condolences to Jane, Jenny and Laura.
    RIP Uncle Jack

  • Kathy Zepaltas

    To say that I have been blessed to work for Jess Jackson is truly an understatement. My nearly 18 years with the “KJ family” has been some of the most remarkable years of my life. Jess taught us about quality, commitment, perseverance – among many other incredible values. I thank you for everything you have done for me, my family and this industry.

    You will be so missed. You will be forever in our hearts!

  • Christopher Pappe

    Barbara, Irby, Don and Galen,

    My deepest heartfelt condolences to you and your family. It was a highlight of my career to work for you and Jess. Thank you for all you have done for our industry and for your stewardship of the land and all the people involved. My wife Marian will miss his great passion for the Hawaiian Islands. Jess will be missed dearly.

  • Linda S Gordon

    My deepest condolences to the Jackson family.

    I had the privilege of working with Jess Jackson at KJ in San Francisco.

    He was a visionary man, a formidable man and a family man.

    Linda S Gordon

  • Patrick

    This is one great American success story.

  • Marcela

    My sincere condolences to Mr. Jackson’s family on his passing.
    From Argentina.

  • sharon

    As a drinker, horseplayer, rachel (and curlin) lover, and all-around antdisestablishmentarian I am profoundly affected by this not unexpected news…after having aaah in the middle of the pick3 on saturday i stocked up on liquor and looked for the rachel but as i was at the grocery store it wasn’t there

    i will be getting a bottle ASAP and opening it when the foal breaks its maiden

    RIP Jess and condolences to those fortunate enough to be able to have called him a friend

  • Rocky Slaughter

    I will always remember Jess and his pursuit to squeeze every drop out of his time here. Even in his last years, he continued to be extremely active in many different ventures and carried himself with a sharp memory and energetic rapport that spread to everyone around him. Jess’ quick wit, humor, and ambitious goals, even at his age, also inspired me to live every day as if it were my last.

    Just as no one really thought Jess would ever retire – despite his announcement a few years ago – I don’t think his spirit will ever really die, either.

    Barbara, Katie, Julia, and Chris… You guys are great and if there’s anything I can do to help you, please let me know! That goes for the Hartfords, too. :)

  • scott smith

    I was saddened and shocked to read the news. I had the occasion many years ago to meet Mr.Jackson at Stone Street winery. I was being entertained and educated during a three day event. While enjoying a wonderful catered buffet under a giant oak tree early evening a man came driving up on a quad, that man, larger than life, stopped and shuck hands and spoke with each person. A fond memory. Condolenses to his family.
    scoot@Biba Restaurant

  • Sabrina

    I had the great honor and privilege of spending time with Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke at the Naples Wine Festival a few years ago. I was in such awe of this man and his accomplishments not only in the wine industry but in his life. I sat fascinated by anything he had to say about wine and the winemaking process. He was truly passionate about it.
    I fell in love with wine through Kendall Jackson chardonnay and have since moved on to some of the Jackson boutique wines as my favorites.
    What a sad day it is for the wine industry and wine lovers. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

  • Lane Tanner

    A life well lived should never be mourned…..

  • R. Shannon McDonald

    Mr. Jackson’s standards of excellence have always shown through in the quality of his wines. And from looking at the comments on equine web sites today as the news of his death circulates, he brought those same high standards to the horse racing industry as well. Curlin and Rachel Alexandra will always be a reminder to us all of a man who strove for greatness and would accept nothing less. Both the wine and the horse racing busnesses have lost a giant.

  • Donna

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Jackson’s family and friends. He was always a class act and will be missed. My fondest memory of him will always be his leading his beloved Rachel Alexandra into the winner’s circle so many times with a look of exuberance and pure joy on his face. Rest in peace, Mr. Jackson. God bless…

  • Dan Thompson

    In spite of feeling the grief in common with so many of you that knew Jess, today, I’m reflecting on how this man’s wisdom and actions helped to shape my wine life and career over the years.

    His energy will continue to move through all dynamic individuals and systems in this world, never tarnished, forever.

    Thank you, Sir.

  • Susan Keppler

    I was very sad today to hear of Mr. Jacksons passing. While I never had the chance to meet him, I have followed his career as an owner in the thoroughbred racing community from the beginning. What a class act! The sport has lost a great person. The type we need more of in the industry. I was sad thinking he wouldn’t get to see Curlin and Rachel’s offspring run but then I thought, yes he will. Thnaks for everything Jess and God Bless you and your family.

  • tom merle

    There are so many accomplishments. The founding of Family Winemakers of California is just one chapter out of so many. Jess was on the board of Wine Institute when the controversial issue of extending the wine marketing order was being debated among its members. However, the story goes, when it came up for discussion at a board meeting, the president of Wine Institute, John DeLuca, indicated that the issue had been decided by the Executive Committee on which sat the Gallos and other mega winery owners. Jess, along with vintners like Patrick Campbell and Brice Jones of Sonoma Cutrer decided a ~one winery/one vote~ association was needed and moved to establish such an organization. Jess was the first president.

  • Denise in AZ

    At first hearing the sad news of Mr. Jackson’s passing, I thought ‘oh no, he’ll never get to see Rachel/Culin’s foal’,, but after reading all the beautiful messages here- I know that he will be looking over all of his family, both human and equine. Rachel brought my love of horseracing to new heights. JJ will be missed dearly by both industries, but his legacy will continue to grow with each generation. Tonight, my husband and I will toast to all things Jess Jackson. Heartfelt wishes for all of you at this most difficult of times.

  • Kathleen von Raesfeld

    My thoughts and prayers are with the Jackson-Banke Family. Jess Jackson truly left a wonderful legacy and touched the lives of all who knew him. The world is a better place because of this man’s courage, grace and brave heart. I feel blessed to have known and worked with Jess Stonestreet Jackson.

  • Steve Young

    I was happy to know Mr. Jackson. He was a good friend to my family. My thoughts are with the family. He fought the good fight all the way to the end!

  • Brian and Eileen Burns

    The worlds greatest vintner…the worlds greatest thoroughbred breeder, best friend a man could have and a man for all seasons….when comes such another?
    All of love to Barbara and the children .. Eileen and Brian Burns

  • Felicia Montemayor

    My condolences on the loss of Jess. God broke the mold when he created him…there will never be another like him.

    God Bless the Jackson family and Godspeed to you Jess.


  • Cris Peterson

    My deepest sympathies to Barbara and the family. It was a great honor and privelege to work for Jess and his family for many years. Not only was he a great businessman, he was a tremendous human being and I will always remember him for his kindness, his love of fishing, and his big hearty laugh! I will miss him.

  • MJM

    It is not without a heavy heart that I say goodbye to a true friend of horseracing. Thank you Mr. Jackson for all that you did for the industry and young horse enthusiasts. Your generosity and passion will long be in the heart of many horse lovers and passionate americans, especially when they open the gates of Saratoga each year. I guess the wine isnt so bad either! (1995 chard my favorite hands down)

    My condolences to the family.



  • Susan Fry

    I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting him about 20 years ago, when KJ hired me to write a piece on the history of a property he had bought. I was to interview the former ranch hand who was back in the Bay Area visiting for two days. Drove up there — and was surprised when Jess and Barbara drove up. I will never forget how impressive he was — his stature, his voice, his demeanor. But FAR more unforgettable were his manners: He introduced himself to me and asked who I was, etc. He treated the ranch “manager” as a peer. And before he left, he enquired as to whether he could put the man (who you felt probably didn’t have much money) and his wife up in a hotel for the night. The way he did it was beautiful — with total respect, the way one would ask a family member — so the man would not feel he was being put down or lorded over. The man declined, said they were staying with friends. My father had those kinds of manners. There are many reasons to mourn Mr. Jackson’s passing — but that is the one that I will remember. He was a “big, big man.” Requiescat in pace, Mr. Jackson.

  • Ronaldo

    He leaned on the bar as if he owned it, which of course, he did. “Do you know what separates us from the rest?”, he offered. “Benchlands, hilltops, and ridges. That is where the best fruit is grown”. There was power and purpose in his inquiry, and our meeting still resonates with me today. How proud I was to announce to family and friends that I was being instructed by such a respected icon. In his luminosity, there was a large shadow cast by the man, to the benefit of so many. He will be missed, as there have been few like him. Rest in Peace.

  • Alice Hunter

    I truly consider myself fortunate and lucky to have started my career at Kendall-Jackson. Through the years my respect and admiration for Mr. Jackson has only increased — his visions were truly revolutionary. There will always be a place in my heart that smiles when I hear the name Jess Jackson.

    Thank you, Mr. Jackson, for everything that you represented and believed in through the years!

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Jackson and Banke families during this most difficult time!

  • Marie Harlan

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Jess’s family. I have have had the honor of representing his wines for 17 years. When we visited the winery a few years ago we had the pleasure of meeting his wife and daughter along with seeing his alot of the properties. A trip I will never forget. Rest in peace

  • Irene Castle McLaughlin

    I’d like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Jess Jackson. I admired his advocacy of integrity in horse racing and the way that he handled the careers of his two super stars, Curlin and Rachel Alexandra. I met him in passing at Saratoga and he courteously answered a few questions I asked about Curlin. He had the commanding yet relaxed presence of a man who was secure in his convictions, a quality that seems to have taken him far in life.

  • Courtney

    I interned at Stonestreet Farm in the spring of 2009 and had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jackson. I was so impressed by the way he took the time to meet me and talk to me. He treated me like I was an important part of his staff, even though I was just an intern. You don’t get that from many big time owners like he is, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that. The news of his passing is very sad, and I know he will be missed by many.

    Thank you, Mr. Jackson, for giving me the opportunity to work at your farm, where I learned so much!

  • Kevin Kennedy

    “The only thing that walks back from the tomb with the mourners and refuses to be buried is the character of a man. This is true. What a man is survives him. It can never be buried.” J.R. Miller

    My family and I offer our deepest condolences to the entire Jackson family. I come to so many crossroads in any given day…and I am so grateful to have the culture of the company that Jess envisioned and built to use as a roadmap. He focused on forging new roads and insisted we keep up- and thank God he did.

  • Kathie

    With sadness I write this today. I came to know of Mr. Jackson when I fell in love with Curlin as he marched his way to the biggest money winning thoroughbred in the US. When Rachael joined him as a record breaking filly – I fell in love again. What a vision this man had. Following Curlin led me to his wonderful wine list. I wish too that he could have seen the Rachael/Curlin foal that he also envisioned. I know he will watch over all of their prodogy as well as keeping Astrology safe as he continues his 3 year old campaine.

    I will toast to him tonight with a KJ chardonay and wish that he is led by the brightest light in crossing the rainbow bridge.

    My sincerest condolences to the Jackson family. May he rest in glorious peace.


  • Tom Farmer

    I am so sorry to hear this sad news. I had the pleasure of working for the man and I found him to be a man of vision, integrity, courage and he had the most captivating smile. He was an icon of the industry and his legacy shall live on for many generations. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the Jackson team during this difficult time. Peace be with you all.

  • Sao Anash

    Jess Jackson was a great man; fearless, adventurous, generous and excited about being alive and being in the wine business. Not only did the wine business lose a great visionary today, but the average American wine lover lost the ultimate champion of their cause: widely available, well-made wines at fair prices.

  • Suzanne de Cornelia

    Thank you for the tremendous inspiration, true example, and fabulous wine. Deepest sympathy to Mr. Jackson’s family, friends and KJ team. Am so sad for his loss~but do believe that’s cheering I hear greeting his arrival in Heaven. Pouring Crema tonight~

  • David Scott

    My deepest condolences to the Kendall Jackson Family who are many. Thank you for allowing me a short opportunity in your life and company. Jess has given and driven the careers of many people in this industry and the memories will live on for many, many generations. We have truly lost an Iconic Leader bidding the family GOD SPEED.

  • Corrie Hanson

    A toast to Mr Jackson … you were a inspiration to me, so warm and caring. You always made feel special every time you were in KY. From the first time we sat in your office and talked I was in awe of your charismatic way. You were a passionate man who loved every horse on your farm. You were such a humble man. I will never forget the day at our company picnic you picked up a spoon to serve all your workers cake and ice cream. I enjoyed your company and will miss your laugh and your smile. I will miss seeing you drive your Highlander around the farm with your beloved dog Buddy leading the way. Or you coming to work on your bicycle at the crack of dawn when the rest of the world was still asleep. Always a smile on your face, always ready to have a conversation with me no matter how small. Mr Jackson I am so glad I was apart of your life even though it wasn’t very long, you definitely made a deep and lasting impression in my heart. You are in a better place, no more pain, no more tears. We will all see you again soon. You are gone from your temporary home, but never will you be forgotten. I know that you will always be looking down upon us, and may we make you proud and carry on your legacies as only you would. Good bye Mr. Jackson, until we meet again.

  • Paul Kronenberg

    Several months after taking the day-to-day reins at Family Winemakers of California, Jess invited me over to lunch at the KJ Wine Center. Over wonderful food and wine he talked about the founding of Family Winemakers and how important it was for premium table wine producers to have a voice in Sacramento. He then, as was his straight forward fashion, looked me directly in the eyes and asked what I wanted to do with the association. While my answer may not have been as articulate as the situation called for it did tap into one of his passions — reforming direct shipping laws so that small producers could access the national market. Since that lunch in 1998, Jess Jackson’s vision for Family Winemakers activism has resulted in a Supreme Court victory and a greatly expanded domestic market.

    With his voice now quiet it will be up to those that share his passion for quality, creativeness, innovation and market access to carry on. He will be greatly missed.

  • Rachel H

    I never met Mr. Jackson. But I am avid TB fan. I was sadden to hear about Mr. Jackson passing. I am so sorry for your loss. I did not know he was sick. Jess did wonderful things to the racing world. He owned my two all time favorite race horses in Curlin and Rachel. Here’s hoping Stonestreet farms will still be in Jess Jackson family and keep his dream alive in racing and owning TB. I am sorry to see that he is not going to see Rachel&Curlin foal being born next year, but I am glad that he has owned the two wonderful TB of all time and got to own two years of the years and got to watch them race and get the honor of getting the award for the HOTY.

    Again I am so very sorry for you loss. Rest in Peace Mr. Jackson

    Rachel H.

  • Brian Thomas

    Having spent the last decade working for the family in one role or another I have always been in awe of Mr. Jackson. His vision, drive, commitment to quality, love of family, and love of the land, has been ingrained into every facet of the organization. He had a presence about him that could draw the rapt attention of the largest of groups. It was because we could all see how passionately he spoke of his dreams, and the hard work he was willing to put toward their realization. For this reason we always knew that if Jess said it could be so, it would be so. I have always felt lucky to have been apart of something such a great man has created, and can attest to how much he will be missed.

    My heartfelt condolences to the entire family for their loss.

  • Eric

    My condolences go out to the Jackson Family and my thoughts and prayers as well. Jess, you will be missed! Cheers to you on such an extraordinary life, you are a true American pioneer and your legacy will live on with your greatest accomplishment, your Family.

    God Bless

  • Julie Collins

    In honor of Jess Jackson tonight I will open my last bottle of Grand Reserve Chardonnay, enjoy the perfection and toast Mr. Jackson.

    My sympathies and condolences to the Kendall-Jackson family…… May he rest in peace and no longer be in the horrible pain that the cancer causes.

    May you all have the strength to get through the hard times, and remember all the good times.

  • Cynthia Reid

    Thank you Jess Jackson for playing the horse racing game your way.

    For calling out injustices when you found them.

    For the thrills you gave us with Curlin and Rachel and all of your stars.

    For giving Rachel her run at immortality.

    We witnessed your love of the game and the sportsmanship and graciousness you extended.

    You will be missed greatly.

  • jean arnold sessions

    Thinking of this great man and at a loss for words. He changed, enhanced, and created new paths in so many lives. Mine included. His presence is once in a lifetime and I am deeply saddened today. Within this sadness though is great love for this entire family that continues with their amazing lives and work fully supported by Jess’s love, compassion, and vision. His moving on is a loss here and now – wrapped in all that he built and inspired. Sent with love to this family and the extended family in Kendall Jackson and Jackson Family Wines.

  • Thomas Favorite

    Rest in peace, Jess Jackson. The industry has lost a pillar, but wine is much more prominent in American culture because of your tireless efforts. Thank you.

  • Alan Paquette

    It is proud feeling to work for a winery founded by a man who passionatly and authentically believed in quality. A leader who constantly challenged the status quo . I am thankful for the lessons I have learned and the stories I got to hear (especially the opportunties I had during a car ride, breakfast or dinner).
    Jess is A true hero not only to those of us in the wine business but anyone who believes in the American dream.
    Will mis him so….
    My condolences to his family.

  • Dan Kleck

    Jess was a fine man, truly a visionary, who took many of us in the wine business along with him at one time or another, on his exciting ride through life. Always a gentleman, Jess treated us all as family, and working for him really made one feel as if we could accomplish anything if we worked at it hard enough. There was always a strong family ethic that was the lifeblood of his company. I will never forget walking vineyards with him, watching him kick at the soil, and insisting that there were flavors here that we could elicit in the wines. He had an instinct for farming that was as uncanny as it was unrelenting, and his desire to create wines of unique character from appellations around the globe was unsurpassed. As busy as he was, I’ll never forget the first Sunday morning I spent with him, he insisted on taking his children to church, before embarking on our winery endeavors. It was that spiritual commitment that I will remember most about a man who gave incredibly more than he ever got, and who left us all better off than we ever would have been had we not met this remarkable man.

  • Anne Mackintosh

    I never met Jess Jackson but, as a 50+-year racing enthusiast, I feel I knew at least a little of who he was: a man of integrity, vision, courage and joy. He was never afraid to speak his mind, to say the hard things that needed to be said and, although he often got the racing industry snorting and prancing, I don’t remember his ever having said or done anything with which I did not agree. The racing industry will be poorer for his absence. We need people like Jess who will stand up and be counted and will persist with dogged determination until the right result is achieved. My heart goes out to Barbara Banke and the rest of the Jackson family in this saddest of times. This man will be missed, even by those of us he never knew existed, for all the good things he was. Rest in peace, Jess. Thank you for all you did.

  • A Sonoma Academy Parent

    Jess Jackson enriched this community in so many ways but especially with a open hand. His generosity and support touched many lives including mine, a person he never met. For that I am forever grateful, humbled and inspired. Thank You

  • George Parkinson

    as I read each and every entry on this site, by friends, family and employess past and present I am amazed at the impact one spirit had on so many different individuals. It speaks of a remarkable and unique hunam being, who can bridge so many in a common passion for living. I echo Lane Tanners’ remark and feel enriched by having a small part on his stage. We are all so blessed at having been “there” with one so special.

  • judy berube

    Condolences to the Jackson family. Sorry for your loss.

  • Kathleen Coyle

    I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jackson personally. However, I’m a diehard horseracing fan, and in my opinion, he gave an incredible, incalculable amount to Thoroughbred racing.
    My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

  • Carl Alderete

    My prayers go to the Jackson family. Thank you Jess for giving me a chance.
    They were one of the best years of my life. One of my fondest memories were seeing you and those dogs at the old Stonestreet Winery before everything went crazy.

  • Steve Heimoff

    I will miss Jess greatly, but his legacy will live on forever. Best regards to Barbara and the family.

  • Sterling

    A Great Man, Thank you for your Chardonnay What a gift
    See you in heaven.

  • Andre Lobanoff

    To the Jackson family
    The passing of Jess will be hard felt in the wine and racing industries,but the Jackson family lost a husband,friend and father.The few years that I spent with the Jackson family ,I was most impressed with his love of his family.
    rest in peace Jess and God bless barbara and the rest of the Jackson clan.

  • John Weeks

    Jess Jackson has rightfully earned his place amongst an elite group of pioneer’s who through their vision, unwavering dedication and courage, changed an entire industry forever.
    To his immediate family, our most heartfelt and sincere condolences; and to the extended Kendall-Jackson family, both near and far, past and present, we extend a hand and an embrace, we are united by our shared experiences and memories of a unique and irreplaceable man.

  • Joel

    I never had the opportunity of meeting Mr. Jackson, but I appreciated his sportsmanship and great contributions to the sport of horse racing. Coincidentally, I was raised that if you want to enjoy good chardonnay or suggest it (as a former server), then KJ was/is it. So I was thrilled to learn of Mr. Jackson’s passion and participation in horse racing, the same industry I am so passionate about and choose to make my vocation. He was a true king of our sport and will be dearly missed. I always appreciated the way he played the game, so to speak, as well as his viewpoints and beliefs on issues. His great legacy will live on. Prayers to his loved ones, and cheers to Jess. Rest in peace.

  • Windy City

    Mr. Jackson,
    Thank You for Rachel Alexandra the Great, Mighty Curlin and great wine. You have done more for horse racing in such a short time than others during decades. Thanks God we had you…Rest in such a deserved peace Mr. Jackson, we’ll remember you as a gallant man and never forget You!

  • Ryan O’Malley

    Great people never pass away, they always pass on. Time will tell how much Jess has passed on to his friends, family, and industry.

  • Tracy Dugdale-Munoz

    I had the pleasure of meeting Jess when his house was being built. I was part of the team that put in the phone system, as I worked for SBC at that time. He was a genuine family man, & a believer in doing your best no matter what.
    My condolences go out to the family, and I am proud to have met such a wonderful man.

  • Louise E. Reinagel

    I met Jess Jackson in Ocala,FL several years ago at the OBS Sale, as a buyer. He was gracious with an infectious smile. I have watched his success throughout the years. I admire his and the family’s contributions to the Thoroughbred industry. I extend sincere condolences. I adore his dear Rachel and she will remind me of him and his love of Thoroughbreds & “The Sport of Kings”.

  • Tracy Dugdale-Munoz

    I met Mr. Jackson when I worked for Pacific Bell/SBC. I was the Account Executive for the “KJ” account. We were providing a
    phone system for the house being built in Geyserville. At one point I had to meet with Jess for the final configuration of the system. Being punctual as always, I arrived a few minutes early. I was met by the family dogs, & greeted by Jess at the front door. We went into the kitchen & sat to discuss the equipment being used. It was a beautiful round Oak table with a stack of “daily” newspapers a foot tall. Jess asked, “do you cook”, and I said yes. There I was in my business suit cooking scrambled eggs, making toast & coffee. We had a great breakfast & wonderful conversation! This is one man that will be missed by many. Thank you for breakfast, Jess.

  • Doug Simon

    My first lesson from Jess was walking through the vineyards at Cambria in 1994 as he talked about the land and the location of vineyards that make great wine. He was certainly a man of passion, energy and integrity.

  • Ken Solin

    I worked with Jess when he was just beginning his expansion two decades ago. I raised growth capital for Jess and traveled with him a few times.
    Jess was an “old school” gentleman. He taught me, by his sterling example, how to maintain my sense of identity and dignity while doing business.
    I enjoyed many lunches with Jess and occasionally with his wife Barbara as well. He was one of a kind and helped make California famous by making wonderful, drinkable, affordable, award winning wines.
    I have thought of Jess often, and always with a sense of gratitude for having known him.
    Rest in Peace Jess.
    Ken Solin

  • Susan A. Ross

    What a wonderful man that he was and my condolences go out to his family. I met Mr. Jackson back in Ocala, FL when he was in the beginning stages of purchasing a farm at the old Adena Springs site. He was able to enjoy two of life’s best experiences… and horses.

  • Lynn Keller

    The world felt bigger and more exciting when Jess was in the room – and it feels smaller with his departure.

    Jess was more than brilliant, he was visionary. Where others saw obstacles Jess saw possibilities. And when he spoke, it was clear that for Jess Jackson anything was possible. It was a heady experience to be in a room with that much intelligence and intention.

    Working as a creative for Jess was a dream come true- that rarefied atmosphere where ideas are not only valued, they come to life.

    Demanding? Yes.
    Challenging? Always.

    But it was even more than what Jess was that I am left with.
    It was who he expected all of those around him to be.

    To have known Jess, is to be better for the experience.

    Ken’s and my very deepest condolences to Barbara and your family.

  • Kirill Masksimov

    I’ve never meet Jess, but I work with his wines in Russia. Thanks to his power and the people who worked for him Jess Jackson’s wines in Russia are one of the most popular Californian wines. I’m deeply depressed with Jess passes away and want to say the words of support to his family and all people who know him. In his honor I’ll drink the bottle of his wonderfull Grand Reserve Merlot’02 with my colleagues.
    Rest in Peace Jess.

  • Diego Ignacio Garcia

    Saddened to learn of Jess Jackson’s passing today. May he rest in peace and that his contributions to Thoroughbred racing continue by his heirs.

  • Lenny S.

    Much has been written about Jess Jackson’s material success and the joy he brought to generations of wine enthusiasts and countless thoroughbred fans. There is no doubt about the mark he made on the worlds of wine and horses. These, however, are not his greatest achievement.

    Early one summer evening, sitting side-by-side in dusty rocking chairs on the porch of his beloved Bear Point log cabin, Jess told me of his deep love for his wife Barbara and for his family. I remember Jess in the alcove at the Redwoods playing the piano, Barbara close-by, one hand on his shoulder. I recall Jess joyously fly-fishing with Christopher waist deep in the quickly-flowing the Kulik River. I think of Jess, Julia at his side, jumping up and down cheering on the thoroughbreds at Santa Anita. I remember Jess, one moment in heated debate about wine quality, the next instant quiet, his face melting into a smile as Katie enters the room. I see Jess’ embrace of Jennie and Laura. I recall Jess bursting with pride as he relates Hailey or MacLean’s latest adventure. I still hear Buddy howling whenever the room would break into laughter at a funny moment.

    Jess extended his generosity to those in need, usually anonymously, always the first to help an employee in distress, the stranger who had encountered misfortune, or a community in need.

    All of Jess’ views were passionate. Jess lived his life at full speed, relentless, determined to carry the whole world on his shoulders. With a world-view forged in the Great Depression, self-reliance formed the very core of his being. He was unshakably committed to quality in everything he did. He could be opinionated, uncompromising, and tough. He loved his country and always, always was prepared to stand up and be counted for what he thought was right. For Jess, participatory democracy was and is to be written in all capital letters.

    While his vision, “commercial courage,” and achievements in business will be his popular legacy, his greatest gift to those he touched will be the love that he had for his family, employees, community, and all living things.

    Our family offers our condolences and prayers to the Jackson family.

  • Jeroen Margés

    More than ten years ago, we were visiting one of the KJ vineyards as part of an importer seminar, when we heard the sound of a helicopter.. Jess Jackson dropped by to say hallo and shake hands with everyone.. We were impressed with him, being so friendly and humble.. My condolences go out to his family..

    Jeroen Margés

  • Katrina Gaffney

    Jess was a force to be reckoned with. I have been fortunate enough to be part of the KJ team for the last fourteen years and will miss him greatly. Condolences and prayers to Barbara and the rest of the family.

  • Liz Avis

    Jess Jackson’s legacy will last forever in the progeny of Rachael Alexander.
    Our condolences to the family and employees.
    Sincerly, Barnacle Bills Seafood, Sarasota,Fl.

  • Kate

    I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Jess Jackson. I am a thoroughbred racing fan, and I have always admired his drive to succeed and his willingness to do what he thought was right no matter what others thought or said. Jess was and will continue to be an inspiration to me and many others. He will be greatly missed by many. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.

  • kat

    I was so saddened to hear of Jess Jackson’s passing. Love his wines and what he contributed to our world .The horse racing industry will miss him as well. He was such a good influence.

  • roseann cherasaro

    I was deeply saddened today by the loss of the great Jess Jackson..I never met him but I will always remember how he helped our sport of racing me he was a hero..a man of great heart and old fashioned ”come and catch me if you can” racing.He shared his horses with us all and for that he has my regard could any one forget how he took the mighty Curlin to Dubai and beyond..never ducking any races..old fashioned racing heart..then Rachel came along and my oh still makes me shed a the team of Jess and Rachel took the racing world by storm.
    My heart aches for his family and his loved ones..cancer is an awful disease..Hopefully one day we shall find the cure..until then take comfort in all that he has done to make differences in this world.
    We know he will be looking down and smiling that wide grin as he watches all that he helped nurture come into being..on the wings of an angel Mr. Jackson!

  • RuthG

    Via con Dios Jess Jackson. Sincere condolences to your family both human and equine. Thank you for taking such good care of your treasures. May your family be comforted in knowing that so many share in their grief. May Rachel and Curlin and all the others that are part of your equine family, prosper and be in good health. You will be missed Jess Stonestreet Jackson…

  • Debbie Rosenblum

    I would like to express my sincerest sympathies to Jess Jackson’s family – his wife Barbara Banke and their children. The wine industry has lost an entrepreneurial giant; the Thoroughbred racing/breeding industry has lost a staunch ally. The Thoroughbred industry was most fortunate to have a man of Mr. Jackson’s stature and influence take such a keen interest in, and work so tirelessly and passionately for, the betterment of this sport. He was truly a sporting man as a racing owner. Thanks to his love of the game and desire to see it enjoyed by racing fans, many of us were blessed to follow extended careers of his two greatest stars and to witness the brilliance of one of the finest fillies of all time. I greatly admired his courage and integrity to challenge the status quo and not back down from his detractors. The racing industry owes Mr. Jackson a debt of gratitude for his dedication to improving its legitimacy and integrity and his unselfish vision for extending and enhancing the careers of two of its grandest athletes.
    I have no doubt he was as courageous in his battle with cancer as his Horses of the Year Rachel Alexandra and Curlin were in their battles on the racetrack. I am heartbroken that he will not get to witness the birth and growth of the first progeny of his two magnificent equine treasures.
    This Easter weekend I will enjoy a bottle of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay and praise a man whose influence in fine wine and fine Thoroughbreds will hopefully live on for generations to come. You will be missed greatly for many reasons by many people, Mr. Jackson. Thank you for all of your life contributions.
    (Life Long Horse-Racing Enthusiast)

  • Jane

    I never met Mr. Jackson but enjoyed his wine from the very beginning.
    What I do know about him is from his advocacy for better breeding of race horses, shaking up the “old guard” in my old Kentucky home and watching his amazing horses Curlin and Rachel Alexandra on the track. Straight shooters are to be admired and respected which from a lot of these posts was surely the case.
    Condolences to the family and we’ll see you on the other side.

  • Ebierbrier

    Great leaders are few and far between; they lead with a steadfast vision towards a future few can envision, yet are so determined in it’s promise that other’s commit their time and energy to see it through. Jess’s tremendous inspiration to making a difference in his life and the lives of others is a testament to a man who I would walk beside in any vineyard. My sympathy and condolences to the Jackson family and our JFW team.

  • Pat

    My Dear Dear Jess. I worked for Jess at his law firm for 4 years. He came to the office one day and said “Pat, I want to be a vintner!” I said “You can’t be a vitner, you’re a lawyer.” He said “I want to be both.” And so began my journey with the BATF. In the space of one day, I went from working for an eminent domain lawyer to paying the bills for a new wine endeavor that none of us had any idea where it would end up. You are an adorable man, Jess. I do have a few regrets in my life. One of them is not staying on with you for the long haul. I shall forever miss you. Heaven is a far better place today with you in it.

  • jimmy

    Jess will always be in our memories.Tonight our group of six will be toasting his great feat of making the best wine ever for us.We will honor his memory with several bottles of Jess Stonestreet Jackson Wine !

  • Hardy Wallace

    Thoughts with the family and friends at KJ.

    I wouldn’t be here without Jess’s ideas and generosity. I am forever grateful.

    A toast to a life lived to the fullest!

  • Tara Henrickson Sharp

    Thank you, Jess, for your incredible positive influence on my life. I will miss you tremendously.

  • Ted Edwards

    Since the Jackson Family purchased Freemark Abbey Winery in 2006, it has been a wonderful experience for me personally and a rebirth of Freemark Abbey Winery. I got to know Jess, and admired him for his work ethic, vision and what he has done for our industry as a whole. It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of the enterprise that he built. Leaving Thursday morning for Reno to do a Freemark Abbey wine and food dinner for 90 people of the Northern Nevada Wine Society, I was saddened by the news of Jess passing. While it was a Freemark Abbey dinner, I wanted to dedicate the dinner to Jess. To begin the evening, we paid tribute to the life of Jess with 90 wine and food loving patrons raising a glass of the 2008 K-J Grand Reserve Chardonnay….it was humble tribute to an icon in our industry.

  • Craig Garcia

    Jess Jackson was a true visionary! The life lesson here is to dream big and never quit… I’m sure it wasn’t all rosy in the KJ winery everyday… But after 30 years of striving to be the best, I think KJ is one of thest wines under $12 and would put it up against any other winery in the world at that price point!

  • Amie Boswell Dewane

    On behalf of the Boswell family, I want to extend our condolences to Barbara and the Jackson families. Jess was a lover of life! His rich zest for family, fairness, quality, philanthropy, friends and business has left the world a greater place and we all thank him. His brilliance, determination and lack of fear have been a joy to watch. God bless.

  • Benjamin O.

    I am saddened by the loss of Jess Jackson, maker/creator of the “best” Chardonnay in the industry. Mr. Jackson will be remembered for generations to come. My condolences to his family and the KJ family.

  • olivier

    my sincer condolence to Jess family
    I had the pleasure to work for Jess during almost nine years; he was a great inspiration to me. He was down to earth with a great vision. I will miss him

  • Dan Haarstad

    My condolances to Barbara and family. Being associated with Kendell Jackson has always been a source of pride for our family.


    My dear friend introduced me to K. Jackson wine. It’s our first choice for our fellowship gatherings. My condolences to all Mr. Jacksons family and friends.

  • Francisco Gillmore

    My condolences go out to Barbara, Jennifer and Don, Laura and Rick, Katie,Julia and Christopher. In Jess’s honor, please take to day off to spend time with your own family and reflect on his legacy.

  • Sandy Brychta

    Jess was a revolutionary in many ways; a giant in stature and personality; a savvy business man and lover of the land. He will be missed.
    My condolences to all the family…remember that the spirit lives on.

  • Lisa Jeannette

    I am sad that I didn’t know more about Mr. Jackson and his wonderful accomplishments while he was alive. As I read article after article, I am touched by his passion, intellect and tenacity. It was apparent how much he loved his horses and the sport, and while some criticized many of his decisions regarding Rachel, he gave me the ride of my life and awakened in me a passion for horses that I didn’t know I had. Thank you, Mr Jackson. Tonight when company sits with me at the dinner table, we will raise our glasses and toast a life well lived. My thoughts are with your close friends and family. Rest in peace.

  • Mike Bartlett

    My condolences to the family. Jess always was and always will be a huge influence on my life and on the lives of the people who know him or new of him. Never one to be happy with the staus quo he has forever changed the wine business and instilled in everyone who worked with him or for him to costantly challenge themselves to be better.

    My family will remember him in our prayers and raise a glass of KJ on Easter Sunday to Jess and the Jackson family


    Jess and I were classmates undergraduate at U.C. Berkley and at Boalt Hall School of Law from 1948 to 1955. He was truly liked and appreciated by all his classmates.
    In the late 1970′s and early 1980′s, Jess represented me in a Marin County land case, and also my partner, Dick Bettini, in a Federal inverse condemnation case. On both matters, he did his usual thorough, professional job.
    I believe it was 1982 when Jess brought to my law office in San Rafael one of his first bottles of Chardonney which we opened and enjoyed immensely.
    Jess & Barbara hosted our 40th (1995) Boalt Hall reunion at their beautiful home in Cambria, and then also hosted our 50th (2005) reunion at their marvelous Healdsburg home. We spent the weekend together and Jess arranged a ride for Gloria and me in his Blue & Gold helicopter over Napa and Sonoma counties. It was truly an extraordinary reunion party.
    I remember sitting with Jess, Barabara and my wife, Gloria, when Barbara said she was upset with Jess because he had just acquired, with community property funds without telling her, the horse who had just won the Kentucky Derby…..she then added she was going to “get even”; she was going to Monte Carlo and have a beautiful boat built — also with community property funds !!! Jess didn’t say anything –just smilted.
    Jess was a solid friend and Gloria and I, and all his classmates, will miss him very much….Jay

  • Barry Dodds

    My family’s sincere condolences go out to the Jackson and Banke families for this tragic loss. What a great man, visionary, counter intuitve genius.
    I have been privileged enough to have worked for the Jackson Family for a little over 5 years, Jess we are all thankful for your words of wisdom and your great leadership. We will ALL miss your visits to Freemark Abbey, and we will hold your name high because you did this for us and millions more. Thank You!

  • Mary Sue Monahan

    I met Mr. Jackson at the ATM machine at Candlestick Park one summer day. ATMs were new then and I was not accustomed to the operation. When the ATM refused to give me my requested money and my card I felt totally helpless . The gentleman behind me told me that he had seen my attempt at operating the machine and if there was any question from my bank about the failed transaction that he would be more that glad to let them know the facts. He then gave me his business card and reassured me that all would be well.

    I still have his card and every time I see it I am reminded that there are truly fine people in the world who are willing to become involved on behalf of a total stranger. I will raise a glass of his fine wine in his memory.

    Mary Sue Monahan

  • pablo hernandez


  • Lorrie S. LeBeaux

    I always wanted to meet Jess Jackson, but I did not get the chance. But, if I could talk to him now, I would thank him for all of his support of my first wine and food writing project; Life’s Little Luxuries Newsletter. From the beginning K-J suppoted my project of creating diversity in the world of wine. I had the opportunity to expose women of color to K-J’s wine and all that encompasses, including wine and food pairings. The ladies from New Orleans loved the wine tasting events and would all purchase K-J wines. They were so proud that they experienced wine and had a positive experience and that they could order wine when they went to a restaurant with confidence.

    Kendall-Jackson even followed me to Little Rock, AR after I lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. I will always be grateful to Jess Jackson and Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates for their support.

  • Mariano Navarro

    I interviewed with Jess in 1999. My career has never been the same.

    I still remember Jess and Barbara joining my vineyard crew and I after the 99′ Harvest out at Kellogg near the old “adobe” house sharing a post harvest celebratory “taco”. I had my eldest son Alejandro (2 years old at the time) in my arms asleep while at the same time I stood next to Jess translating for him as he spoke about the passion, commitment and strength of his vineyard workers that he admired and loved so much.

    I will miss you Jess. Thank you for all the lessons you taught me. It was a privilege to have met you. May Barbara and your children find the strength and courage to move forward and continue your vision, as well as theirs. God bless you all.

  • Michael K. Lall

    I have read so many great things over the years about Mr. Jackson. He is a true visionary and a real self made man. I wish I could have met him. His legacy will live on forever. His passion for his family and his business made him a great one.
    I will toast to him this weekend with a bottle of KJ Chard. With Warmest regards to Jess’s family. -Mike

  • Mark Mathewson

    In my many years working at Kendall-Jackson I learned a tremendous amount from observing Jess Jackson. I have never met anyone with the vision, the will, or the courage Jess had and I doubt I ever will. My condolences to Barbara and the family.

  • Anthony Dias Blue

    It is a rare privilege in life to get to know someone who is truly great. Like a great wine, this person defines the category and sets the perameters of what is possible. Jess Jackson was such a person. Being in his presence was not just a privilege, it was inspirational.
    Jess was a great entrepreneur, a great wine man, a great creator. More important, he was a great person. His greatness was evidenced in how successful he was in everything he set out to do, but it was also evidenced by his devotion to family, his genuine concern for others, his sensitivity.
    Jess was a tough competitor and a fearsome adversary, but his empathy and respect for others was a large part of his greatness. The last time I spoke to him a few weeks ago, he deflected my concern for him and changed the subject to ask about my health and well-being.
    The great man is gone, but what he built will remain as a testimony to his greatness. And those of us who knew him will cherish his memory and know that we have changed and grown by having known him.
    My heart goes out to Barbara and the family. Their loss is immeasurable.

  • Tita Meneses Trillo, TWCI Board of Directors and Employees

    To the Family of the late JESS JACKSON:

    With our love and prayers we send our condolences to the family of our dear Jesse Jackson who went to a peaceful sanctuary with our Lord. Our faith teaches us that death is a necessary passage to eternal life.

    “Lord, we pray for our dear Jess Jackson…”


    Tita Meneses Trillo,
    TWCI Board of Directors and Employees

  • ronald hyman

    An intensely private, fabulous, gentle man who was a dear friend to my father and then to me. Indeed one of few who challenged me and was there for me in various stages of my life.
    Jess’s vision in the wine business was not his greatest gift. I recall the days at Clear lake from the mid sixties on, when he and my Dad would marvel at nature and all that it means and they so embraced that ……a six pack of cheap beer was all that they needed…………those were great days………
    My heartfelt condolences to Barbara and to the entire Jackson Family.
    Jess will be sorely missed………….there is a pain in my heart.

  • Jody Lawrence

    My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the family and connections of this wonderful man. I didn’t have the fortune of knowing him personally, like so many others I only knew of him through the media. What caught my eye was when he bought Rachel Alexandra, had enough confidence and courage in this young filly to immediately put her in the Preakness, to give her a chance to succeed against the odds….all I can say is a lot of parents should have as much confidence in their own children as he did in Rachel. Hats off to you Mr. Jackson, for the confidence and courage you possessed, allowed you to leave behind such a wonderful legacy.
    Jody Lawrence (Thoroughbred Racing Enthusiast)

  • Mary Jo and Bob Biggers

    Dear Jackson Family,
    Even though we didn’t know you personally, our children, Melinda and Leonard Cairney relished your friendship. May your grieving be brief and may you feel much love from your family and friends AND even people you’ve never met! Blessings to Barbara and Family.
    Bob and Mary Jo Biggers (parents of Melinda Cairney)

  • Lee Robin Kerkapoly

    Selling the wines from all of Jess’s wineries has been such an incredible opportunity – I am proud of what I represent everyday I get out and sell. But meeting Jess and Barbara when Rachel Alexandra won at Saratoga in 2009 was such a highlight in my life! To share with them in that moment of winning was a memory I will never forget. Jess was a winner, larger than life, a risk taker, and an idealist who never gave up – bravo Jess!

  • Tracy

    His was a life well lived. It is a blessed man that can live the life he did. Rich and full. To those of you left behind…..may your loving and wonderful memories of this great man fill your hearts with much happiness. Many thanks to Jess for the gifts he left us. I found my way back to the great sport of Thoroughbred horse racing because of his contributions to the sport. Namely Curlin and Rachel Alexandra. Sadly he is gone but his legacy will live on for eternity. RIP Mr. Jackson.

  • Ana M Casey

    My thoughts and prayers to Barbara and family. I am deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Jackson’s passing. I had the privilegy of working for Kendall Jackson Wines from 1989-1999. I always remember the years at K-J proudly. Mr. Jackson presence was always felt in the office even in his absence, because he instilled integrity and work ethics to all his employees by his actions and commintment to excellence. I remember his warm smile walking the office halls. I always admired Mr. Jackson caring and generosity to his employees and the community. Thank you “Jess” you will be missed. God Bless

    Ana Maria Casey

  • Patrick and Vickie Preston

    Our condolences to Barbra, Laura, Jenny, Katie, Julia, and Chris.
    Vickie and I have many great times and memories. Jess had a great senses of humor. He was also very generous with people. He will be sadly missed. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family. We know the family will carry on the Kendall Jackson tradition of integrity and hard work.

  • Yasuhisa Hirose, Enoteca Co., Ltd.

    It is with great sorrow that we have heard the sad news of the untimely passing of Mr. Jess Jackson.
    We are certain that his passing must be a great loss to you and all the team of Jackson Family Wines.

    We tender deepest sympathy and condolences to you and everyone at Jackson Family Wines.

    Best regards,

    Yasuhisa Hirose
    Kentaro Abe
    ENOTECA Co., Ltd.

    • Yasuhiro Shibuya, Fields Coporation

      I would like to express my condolances to all the team of Jackson Family Wines as I am very grateful to Mr. Jess Jackson.

      Yasuhiro Shibuya
      Fields Corporation

  • Mark Theis

    It has been because of Jess that I have had the opportunity and privilege to walked his vineyards, visited his wineries and worked with many of the great people that have been part of Kendall-Jackson. Thank You

    My sincerest condolences to the family

  • Greg Estrada

    My deepest thoughts and prayers for Barbara, kids, and family
    I will never forget this man who changed my life, from the first day we met on a gravel road. He stood in the middle of the road, wearing a pair of old worn out boots and a pair of jeans….Being new to the area I had no idea wh0 Jess Jackson was or Kendall Jackson. One thing for sure, those who know this man or met him…would never forget him.
    I thank this man who showed me a passion for what we love and to go after our dreams…Many many times I stop and think if it wasn’t for Jess I would not be in the position I am now. Thank You Jess.
    May his vision carry on with the great team he leaves behind….
    An end of an ERA with a man like this no longer around…..may all the kj family carry on his vision, his passion, and his dreams

    • pablo hernandez


  • Gilian

    Ah heck…

    Fearless, super book smart but with really strong street instincts and obstinately unaware of the limits so many people put on their dreams, Jess Jackson was charismatic and yet very down to earth. He loved sharing a good snack, a whiff of an expressive wine, observing the passage of seasons and weather, a belly laugh over a witticism, a Shakespeare snippet and white-knuckle drives up and down mountain vineyards. He was a big softy when it came to animals, kids and underdogs. What a true privilege it has been to work for him and to know him as a human being. Miss him already…

    • John Weeks

      I like those sentiments, too true….

  • Vicuna Family

    Condolence to Barbara and the Jackson Family from far away Chile, we will always remember your family and hospitality for us, and your trip to Chile opening our eyes, on what we had.

    A toast for Jess

  • R L Q Fogarty

    May the seeds you’ve planted in your life time continue to flourish for generations to come.

    Rest in peace Mr. Jackson,

    Lina and Jerry Fogarty
    Houston, TX

  • Randall Bertao

    To the Jackson Family, please accept my condolences and prayers. Jess was a powerful influence and the wine industry, especially California’s was better for it. The last time I saw Jess was up at the Mountain office where we had an extremely generous tasting followed by the most magnificent tour I have ever experienced. To Jess and all his Family, here’s a toast in your honor!

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  • Craig Ellick

    Jess was a stud. I have had the pleasure and honor to work for Jess and his family for 15 years, and I can say from first hand experience, he was like the characters that John Wayne played in the movies, hard working, self made (along with his wife Barbara) proud Americans. Certainly not one to cross! At 80 years old he was still working more than all of us! He was also a real historian. Some of my best memories of Jess were when he was talking about the history of California. He loved the land.
    He will be missed by many.

  • Jo Brewer

    We are enjoying a bottle of Vintner’s Reserve Syrah 2008 tonight with our garlic chicken! We often enjoy the Kendall-Jackson wines!!!

    Bless you, Jess and thank you.

    ~ The Joze

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  • Michael Mercer

    Our sincere condolences to the family. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from such a legend and visionary. Simply put Jess made me better. He always had nothing but the highest expectations for everything he did. He will be missed by all.
    God Bless You Jess!

  • Jim Cutcher

    Jess was very inspirational to me. From my first week on the job it was so very obvious how passionate he was about what ever he was working on. It was extremely contagious and refreshing to work for someone who was committed so deeply into their work. It has been an honor for me to work for Jess and the family and be able to share his vision and passion with others. He was a mentor as a father, as a teacher, and as a business person. I have learned so much from him and will miss his history lessons, great stories and wonderful smile. To the family, my condolences. Thank you for a wonderful private service today for us employees. I know that he would be so very proud of his children and family.

  • James Hurst

    I remember the first time I met Jess back in 1997. I had just started with the company as a computer technician. I had been here a total of one week when I was summoned out to the house to fix Jess’ computer. He was having issues with opening some files he really really needed. I entered through the big iron gates and found my way to his study. Chris, Katie, Julia and Hailey were all outside running around playing and Barbara and Jess were in the study. I walked in and Jess immediately went into a explanation of his issues and how important it was to get his files. Jess made me feel at home and even made me a sandwich while i worked on his computer! I knew then that I would be here for quite awhile. Jess made me feel like I was part of the family. I have always kept that memory and will always remember him for the kind and understanding person he was. I was able to get his files restored and he slapped me on the back and commented on a job well done :) I felt awesome for the rest of the day!! Thanks Jess :)
    Rest in Peace.
    -James (14 years)

  • David Hudgins

    I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family. What an uplifting memorial to Jess. Watching the videos and hearing the stories told about Jess’ life made me reflect upon what a truly great man and visionary he was.

    All of my encounters with him over the years were always so animated – Jess usually had ten ideas a minute. I will truly miss him but I look forward to being a part of continuing his legacy.

    With sympathy,

    David Hudgins

  • joe ernster

    My sincerest condolences to friends and family. I “cut my teeth” on the Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and continue to drink it today. In fact, I am sipping on the 08 Vintners Reserve Cab as I write this, as I found about Jess’s passing today….God Bless

  • James Doughty

    I only recently learned of Mr. Jackson and our connection as common cousins through James Murray Doughty of Texas. I’m amazed at Mr. Jackson’s accomplishments. He is an example of how we should all try to live life.
    God Bless Jess!

  • Joel A. Miller

    To the whole Jackson family: First, from my family to yours, our deepest and most sincere condolences. Above all, Jess was a strong family man, and it will take time to adequately reflect and appreciate all of his gifts to each of you.

    Reading through the amazing comments here as well as elsewhere in the media, I’m overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of personal stories shared by so many different individuals. I can’t remember ever encountering such a wonderful array of memories. It is indeed the finest of tributes…

    At the memorial the other day, one comment rang true: that Jess’s legacy begins now…it is an incredible foundation on which that legacy begins, and I, along with whole team at JFE/JFW, am proud to propel his vision forward for years into the future.

    Be there no doubt – when it comes to “judging the content of one’s character”, JSJ built a long and wonderful history of genuine courage, caring, and leadership. Each of us can hope to emulate many aspects of his impact and connections with others.

    L’chaim (a toast to life!)

  • Ignacio Pavlovsky Jr.

    All my condolences to Barbara, the Kids, Don Hartford all his Family and Stonestreet Family. Jess was a great Man for the whole racing Industry to Argentina and for Me.

    It was a great pleasure and Honour to have been a little part of his Project.

  • Sarah E. Graves

    Jess Jackson was a great man (and is a great spirit) that drove me to be a better person and professional. I worked for him thirteen creative and challenging years where one did not remotely resemble the year before. How do you thank someone for such gifts? As many have said in this tribute, you were grateful to be on the ride with him. Me, too. It was an awesome ride and will continue to be for each of us as we live into the greatness he challenged us to be. He had it right you know, family is first, treat everyone like family and the world becomes a better place. I am also remembering all of the beautiful places I got to go thanks to him from mountain tops, to Tuscan countrysides, Hawaii and more. Thanks for the memories and cheers to you with a George Bernard Shaw excerpt that fits you perfectly:
    Life….It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
    Blessings and heartfelt sympathy to Barbara, Katherine, Julia, Christopher, Laura, Jenny, Don, Rick, Irby and Galen and all. Thanks for sharing him with all of us!

  • Dave Maddux

    My sincere condolences to your family. I recently discovered Mr. Jackson by reading an article he did in Entreprenuer magazine. I was greatly inspired by his life story, his love for doing something he really enjoyed. I will never lose sight of his words of wisdom I wish I could have met him. “Nothing better than working dawn to dusk on the farm,getting your hands dirty,hearing the rustle of the wind.
    It restores your moral center and your soul to the moral insignificance of life in the universe. ” Well said ! Cheers dear Sir

  • Joanie

    I loved the early days of KJ, San Francicso to Santa Rosa on Old Redwood Highway. Jess would walk around the office talking to everyone and greeting us with that big smile of his. Whenever Jess was near you could sense a definite pressence. The best memories I have of my working career are when I was employed at Kendall-Jackson. He and Barabara were very generous and kind to me and my family. Jess taught me how to listen, get all the facts, write in detail, respect the land and love what you do. I admired him greatly. He will be missed.

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  • Arnoldo Rivera

    All our condolences to the Family, I have had the pleasure to work with Jess and his team in Chile, my best memories working career with Jackson family, very inspiring and thanks for all the time that I have the luck to work with Mr.Jackson.

    God bless the family in this time and always.

    Our family

  • Ben & Sandy Sampson

    It’s been said so many times here: We are all so sad to be left without Jess Jackson. Sandy and I had the pleasure of spending a long weekend with Jess, Barbara, and her sister, Kay, a number of years ago, and his humor, wisdom, humanity and downright friendliness have stayed with us. We’re missing him.
    A toast to a good host to us all!

    Ben & Sandra Sampson

  • Vic Antolik

    Jess Jackson was a truly remarkable man! He will be missed!

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  • Mary Dixon Reynolds

    It has been a few months since the death of Jess Jackson & still, I miss seeing that ruggedly handsome face, always smiling, at the Thoroughbred races. Like everything else he was involved in, he left a huge mark on the industry. He was a reminder of throughbred owners from the turn of the century who were involved in every detail themselves. It’s incredible who quickly Stonestreet Stable rose to prominence and I, and millions like me, cannot thank him enough for giving us Curlin & Rachel Alexandra. RA’s 2009 campaign will go down in history as one, if not the best year a racehorse has ever had. Mr. Jackson continually tried to make our industry better & in many ways, he was successful. In a few years where the spotlight focused on problems w/in the industry, Curlin & Rachel were the 2 bright spots. Thanks again, Mr. Jackson. God Bless you!

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  • Richard Collins

    I know this is late, however I just heard the sad news.
    I worked for Jess for eleven years, he was an inspiration, iconic and very influential to me.
    Jess always cut an amazing figure, the presence of John Wayne, the delivery of William Holden and the mind of a true visionary. I remember the first time he “retired”, he met with a group of us from Corterra on the AME overlook and spoke of the land and the future. We knew he was never retiring, he didn’t have it in him! I shared a keen interest in Aviation, riding and shooting with Jess and had some great conversations with him over the years. He was always approachable and sincere (even when I begged him for the front seat on the Notar) or if I could bring my special needs son down to see the horses.

    Barbara, Julia, Katie, Laura, Jenny, Chris you know Jess greatly influenced and helped many a soul I want you to know I was one of them and I will miss he very much.

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