×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

A Man and his Mountain: The Everyman who Created Kendall-Jackson and Became America's Greatest Wine Entrepreneur
     

A Man and his Mountain: The Everyman who Created Kendall-Jackson and Became America's Greatest Wine Entrepreneur

4.0 1
by Edward Humes
 

See All Formats & Editions

The story of self-made billionaire Jess Jackson, who put Chardonnay on America's tables as he built the Kendall–Jackson wine empire from a few mountainous acres of grapes, and raced the Horse of the Year three years in a row, is a remarkable tale of romance, risk, and reinvention—perhaps the greatest second act in the history of American business.

Overview

The story of self-made billionaire Jess Jackson, who put Chardonnay on America's tables as he built the Kendall–Jackson wine empire from a few mountainous acres of grapes, and raced the Horse of the Year three years in a row, is a remarkable tale of romance, risk, and reinvention—perhaps the greatest second act in the history of American business.

Jess Stonestreet Jackson was one of a small band of pioneering entrepreneurs who put California's Wine Country on the map. His life story is a compelling slice of history, daring, innovation, feuds, intrigue, talent, mystique, and luck. Admirers and detractors alike have called him the Steve Jobs of wine—a brilliant, infuriating, contrarian gambler who seemed to win more than his share by anticipating consumers' desires with uncanny skill. Time after time his decisions would be ignored and derided, then envied and imitated as competitors struggled to catch up.

He founded Kendall–Jackson with a single, tiny vineyard and a belief that there could be more to California Wine Country than jugs of bottom-shelf screw-top. Today, Kendall–Jackson and its 14,000 acres of coastal and mountain vineyards produce a host of award-winning wines, including the most popular Chardonnay in the world, which was born out of a catastrophe that nearly broke Jackson. The empire Jackson built endures and thrives as a family-run leader of the American wine industry.

Jess Jackson entered the horseracing game just as dramatically. He brought con men to justice, exposed industry-wide corruption in court and Congress, then exacted the best revenge of all: race after race, he defied conventional wisdom with one high-stakes winner after another, capped by the epic season of Rachel Alexandra, the first filly to win the Preakness in nearly a century, cementing Jackson's reputation as America's king of wine and horses.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Humes makes his charismatic subject's every venture vividly and intensely dramatic. This book will attract readers of diverse interests, from the law to wine-making to business to horse-racing." Booklist

“A well-rounded, absorbing narrative of entrepreneurship, wine and the extraordinary man who made it all happen.” Kirkus Review, starred

“Thoroughly engaging… this biography is as well-suited for those interested in people as those interested in wine.” Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A classic American story—a man of the people becomes one of the greatest visionaries and qualitative titans the wine world has ever witnessed. Very highly recommended.” —Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate

“With dexterity and style, Edward Humes captures Jess Jackson, making his larger-than-life personality come alive and his rollercoaster story jump off the pages. A Man and His Mountain shows the inspiration, boundless energy, and tenacity that Jess Jackson embodied, but also the real man who was in ways like the rest of us, fallible and human. I expected a book about a winery, but what I got was an exciting, motiving, and epic journey of a man with laughs, tears, and surprises.” —Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, master of wine, author of The One Minute Wine Master

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781610392860
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
10/22/2013
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
545,887
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt

Jess Jackson wriggled into his half-wetsuit, threw on an air tank, regulator, and mask, and plunged into the vineyard’s dark reservoir. The icy water burned his exposed arms and legs. He could see nothing under the surface—dawn was still hours away. He’d have to feel along the slimy bottom of the pond until he found the weeds and algae that had clogged the irrigation pumps, then rip them loose so the reservoir waters could once again flow to the vines.

His big hands reduced to clumsy clubs by the cold, he tried not to panic as he felt around with numbed fingers. He knew time was not on his side. The banks of drippers and sprayers in the fields could protect the grapes from fatal frost. Liquid water soon froze once sprayed on the vines, but that was good: it insulated the fragile fruit, forming a barrier between the grapes and the much colder air temperature that would burn and ruin the crop. But the vital pumps had clogged, the protective waters were not flowing, it was the middle of the night, and there was no one but this middle-aged lawyer and part-time vintner there to do something about the incessant frost alarm. Jackson knew he either could complete this crazy, bone chilling dive and risk possible hypothermia to save his fledgling vineyard, or he could walk away, go sit by the fire, and lose the farm in a matter of hours. As in, literally, lose the farm.

In truth, this wasn’t much of a debate for Jackson. In a crisis he preferred offense to defense, whatever the consequences—punching rather than rolling with the punches. His years working as a policeman, an ambulance driver, a lumberjack, a gambler, and assorted other risky and dicey careers had convinced him of that much—a resumé that, years later, would make him a unique entry on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest men. So
he had raced to rummage through the storeroom where he had stashed his diving rig. No one else in the family had been quite sure why he had hauled all this junk up to the farm. Now it seemed there had been a method to the madness, as he told his wide-eyed daughter, “I’m going in.”

Meet the Author

Edward Humes is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of twelve other nonfiction books, including No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court, a PEN Award recipient; Mississippi Mud; Force of Nature: The Unlikely Story of Wal-Mart's Green Revolution; Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash; and School of Dreams, named by the Washington Post as a best book of the year. His writings have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, and Sierra.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

A Man and his Mountain: The Everyman who Created Kendall-Jackson and Became America's Greatest Wine Entrepreneur 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago