Kendall-Jackson’s Head Winemaker Randy Ullom Honored as the 2022 American Wine Legend for Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (November 3, 2022) – As Kendall-Jackson celebrates its 40th anniversary, Head Winemaker Randy Ullom has been named Wine Enthusiast’s “American Wine Legend” in the 23rd Annual Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards. This prestigious category recognizes a sole nominee and honors their standing as a true icon in the American wine industry. The Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards have become one of the most revered global wine industry awards, given annually to commemorate influential members of the global wine, spirits and beverage industry.  

“It is a privilege to be recognized amongst my peers for work that is my true passion. Wine has been a constant throughout my life. As a child, I watched my father become a hobbyist home winemaker, and his joy instilled excitement in me that has persevered throughout my career. Being named American Wine Legend only furthers this excitement, especially as we look ahead to the future of our industry. Along with the incredible winemaking team at Kendall-Jackson, I look forward to continuing to push for greater enhancements in site-specific soils, grapes, and farming techniques, because ultimately, a winemaker is a farmer first,” said Randy Ullom, Kendall-Jackson Head Winemaker. 

Randy Ullom’s distinction as “American Wine Legend” comes on the cusp of his 30th year at Kendall-Jackson and the winery’s 40th anniversary. Founded by Jess Jackson in 1982, Kendall-Jackson has risen from a single varietal winery to producing iconic wines from across California’s most prized growing regions and championing industry sustainability standards.  

Hired in 1993 by Jackson, Ullom joined Kendall-Jackson after having served as winemaker at DeLoach Vineyards for more than ten years. In his first few years as winemaker for Kendall-Jackson, he led efforts to open wineries in Mendocino and in the pursuit of opportunities in Monterey and Santa Barbara, he helped establish Kendall-Jackson’s single vineyard programs which resulted in labels such as Camelot Highlands Chardonnay, one of the winery’s top-tier offerings today. In addition, he spearheaded winemaking operations in Chile and started the company’s wine endeavors in Australia with the opening of Yangarra Estate Vineyard. In 1997, Ullom was promoted to Head Winemaker for Kendall-Jackson because of his extensive knowledge of the viticultural and winemaking programs. Ullom embraces superior quality, integrity, authenticity, and consistency as the backbone to Kendall-Jackson’s storied winemaking heritage. As the only American wine company with an ownership stake in a French stave mill, Kendall-Jackson, under Ullom’s leadership, developed a robust and industry-leading barrel program that enables him to choose precise oak sourcing – the region and the forest – which guarantees him access to the highest-quality, sustainably sourced oak for Kendall-Jackson’s barrels. Furthermore, Ullom is responsible for pushing boundaries and creating some of the most innovative initiatives in the wine space today, such as barrel-fermenting almost every drop of the flagship Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, the largest barrel-ferment in the world for Chardonnay and an unprecedented commitment to artisanal winemaking techniques to achieve craft winemaking at scale. His distinguished winemaking skills have helped Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay maintain its position as America’s #1 selling Chardonnay for 30 years.  

“Randy is an integral part of Kendall-Jackson’s history,” said Barbara Banke, Chairman and Proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, the family-owned wine company she co-founded and now leads with her family.  “He is an icon who has shaped the wine industry and his distinctive style of Chardonnay. He has enabled Kendall-Jackson’s Vintners Reserve Chardonnay to be the industry leader for over 30 years. He is an authority on all things Chardonnay and his precision and focus are remarkable.” 

A hands-on approach and time spent daily in the vineyards has helped Ullom and the Kendall-Jackson team achieve industry-wide recognition as leaders in sustainability. Kendall-Jackson has implemented many winemaking and vineyard practices under Ullom’s leadership that support environmental concerns as it conserves natural resources, improves air and water quality, and protects ecosystems and wildlife habitat. “The better the soil, the better the wine,” said Ullom. One hundred percent of Kendall-Jackson’s 10,000 planted acres of estate vineyards throughout the coastal California region are third-party Certified Sustainable. The winery is powered in part by renewable solar energy and many water conservation practices have been implemented. Additionally, the vineyards are designed to have minimal environmental impact, with over half the total acreage left to grow wild and unfenced in support of biodiversity and the natural migratory routes of the diverse local wildlife. Even with all these practices in place, Ullom personally ensures the quality of each vineyard by tasting every lot of wine.  

Ullom will be honored as named Wine Enthusiast’s “American Wine Legend” at the Wine Star Awards black-tie gala taking place in San Francisco, California in January 2023. For more information, please visit and  

About Kendall-Jackson    

Kendall-Jackson is one of America’s most beloved family-owned and operated wineries. The winery’s flagship wine, the Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, has been America’s favorite Chardonnay since 1992. Founded by entrepreneur and visionary Jess Jackson in 1982, and now led by his wife Barbara Banke and the Jackson family, Kendall-Jackson is based in Sonoma County and offers a range of acclaimed wines grown on the family’s estate vineyards along the coastal ridges of California. Kendall-Jackson is the benchmark for sustainable wine endeavors, setting the precedent for advancement in solar, water, and vineyard practices. Wine Enthusiast Magazine recently named Kendall-Jackson the 2017 American Winery of the Year, one of the wine industry’s most distinguished accolades. Recognized as a leader in the industry for more than three decades, Kendall-Jackson has built a reputation centered around consistent, high-quality wines that are available nationwide in national grocery stores, boutique wine retailers, and restaurants. Learn more online at, and follow Kendall-Jackson on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.     

About Wine Enthusiast 

Founded in 1979 by Adam and Sybil Strum and composed of Wine Enthusiast Media and Wine Enthusiast Commerce, Wine Enthusiast Companies is the ultimate source of innovation and information around wine. With custom products reaching millions of consumers globally via direct mail, a thriving e-commerce site and a business-to-business division, Wine Enthusiast Catalog provides everything wine lovers need to enjoy wine to the fullest in their homes. Wine Enthusiast magazine is an award-winning print publication and online resource that showcases wine and food trends, enotravel, and over 25,000 ratings and reviews annually. Together, Wine Enthusiast Companies is the indisputable hub for everything wine. To be put simply, our company mission statement is: We Bring Wine to Life. 

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