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Jess Jackson, Founder of Kendall-Jackson, Dead at 81

Jess Stonestreet Jackson, Jr. (February 18, 1930 - April 21, 2011)

Jess Jackson died at home, in Geyserville, CA on April 21, 2010 after a long fight with cancer. He was 81 years old. Born in Depression-era California, he took his first job at age 5. Jackson went on to work a wide variety of jobs, sometimes more than one at a time, to help his family and put himself through college. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law in 1951 and began a practice in land-use law.

His continuing hard work served him well. By 2005, Forbes Magazine estimated his wealth at 1.8 billion dollars, placing him in a tie for 366th in that publication’s list of the world’s wealthiest people. The winery to which he gave his name, Kendall-Jackson, makes this country’s most popular Chardonnay. The winery holding company he founded, Jackson Family Wines is the 9th largest in the country. In 2009, he was voted into the Vintners Hall of Fame which resides at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.