Kendall-Jackson: Wine Hero

I just finished off a 2000 Matanzas Creek Merlot and it reminded me of something: Kendall Jackson along with Jess Jackson is one of winedom’s true heroes.

We did a lot of public relations work with Matanzas Creek in the 90s before it was purchased by Kendall-Jackson. They were the best clients I’ve ever had. Not only was the wine always fabulous, but the owners were too. Sandra and Bill MacIver were passionate about business, about wine and about the wine industry.

But it was through them that I came into contact with the good works machine that is Kendall Jackson. For those who are not aware, Jess Jackson and his crew are one of the few huge wineries in America that have always been big backers of the movement to make wine shipping laws fair and equitable. This makes them champions of the consumer and of the wine industry. They back this campaign with money, with manpower and with reputation. But if you dig around, you’ll see that Jackson has been involved in a number of industry movements that promote the little guy as well as the industry as a whole. This can’t be said for most of the giant wine companies. It’s a sign that there is a real person at the top, not just a bean counter with offices next to the “investor relations” department.

There was a time when it looked like Jess Jackson would sell his wine empire. I’m glad he didn’t. I want him in the business; him and his 4,000.000 cases of wine. And it’s good wine too: Cardinale, Carmel Road, Hartford Family Wines, La Crema, Stonestreet, Verite, Lokoya, Archipel, not to mention Matanzas Creek, all under the Jackson Family Farms umbrella. And under the KJ umbrella you have the Great Estates, Grand Reserve, Vintners Reserve, Stature and Collage lines. Pretty impressive.

Oh…And the 2000 Matanzas Merlot was, as you’d expect, stunning. Still ripe with a velvety envelope and mocha edge.

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