kendall jackson

Dan, Joey and Mark.

Mark Mathewson and Joey Stockton from Kendall-Jackson, join Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger on California Wine Country. Joey Stockton is the winemaker in charge of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay and Mark Methewson is VP of Hospitality. CWC has featured KJ before, on this episode recorded on October 19, 2016, when KJ winemaster Randy Ullom was our guest.

KJ is the official NBA wine partner. This began during the pandemic when NBA players were confined to hotels and some of them complained about the poor wine selection available to them. When the folks at KJ heard about that, they sent 50 cases of their wine, which really got people’s attention and led to the official sponsorship deal.

However this is not KJ’s first foray into sports sponsorships. Dan Berger did a speaking engagement at the opening of Jacobs Field in Cleveland. He was in Ohio for another reason, and Randy Ullom invited Dan to Cleveland to talk about KJ wines, which were going to be the exclusive wine supplier to the luxury boxes at Jacobs Field.

Climate Ride, coming in August

KJ is hosting a fund raising event called The Climate Ride on August 17. Julia Jackson is a climate philanthropist who has funded an organization called Grounded, which funds high-impact climate solutions. She wanted to do a fund raiser, so they started a collaboration with Climate Ride. The ride starts and finishes at KJ. There are 4 routes to choose from, from short to long, for riders of every level of endurance. The most ambitious one is 81 miles with 4700 feet of elevation. We will have more about Climate Ride in the weeks before the event, on this show. There will be wines from KJ, beers from Seismic Brewing and cider from Golden State, along with music and food from the KJ culinary team.

rodney strong

Click the logo to visit our sponsor Rodney Strong for info on the 2024 Summer Concert series.

Speaking of events, tomorrow is the Sonoma County Vintners’ annual Taste of Sonoma event, also at KJ. Dan Berger will be wearing his Argentine straw hat.

Joey Stockton started his career in wine in Washington state, then worked in Napa Valley and started at KJ when they started in 2011. Now he is the Chardonnay winemaker.

KJ Dry Riesling

The first wine they taste is a 2022 dry Riesling. They saw a quote from Dan Berger that there is not enough dry Riesling out there. Back in 2018 they had the same idea and started making it. They made it in a concrete egg, a ceramic egg and stainless steel. When the ceramic egg broke, they had to work with the concrete egg and steel. Dan says it has just a trace of sugar and it is perfectly balanced and has perfect varietal aroma.

Next they taste the KJ Chardonnay. Dan has written about how complicated it is to make this high quality wine consistently year after year, with a high production volume. The grapes all come from Mendocino, Monterey and Santa Barbara, all coastal regions, and cool surf towns. As time goes by, the KJ approach to Chardonnay has evolved and today shows better acidity than before. This wine has tastes of White Burgundy. It is not sweet. They do “surly aging” meaning they age the wine on the lees and they stir the barrels monthly.

Mark Matthewson is VP of Hospitality (not Operations, as originally stated). KJ has a property in Tuscany that Dan says is amazing.

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