Chardonnay for the People

How Kendall-Jackson propelled America's favorite white wine

Chardonnay for the People
Attorney Jess Jackson turned a grapegrowing hobby into a winery empire. (Courtesy of Kendall Jackson)
From the Jul 31, 2022, issue

The story of how Chardonnay became the most popular wine in America, along with how Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve became the best-selling California Chardonnay in the country, begins with a “holy crap” moment 40 years ago. In 1982, Jess Jackson had a problem. The full-time attorney-turned-hobby-grapegrower faced a grape glut: His winemaker buyers were no longer interested in purchasing his fruit. But Jackson knew his grapes were tasty, so he decided to become a vintner. Read on for the full story behind one of America's most influential winemaking empires.

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