Randy Ullom is well aware of the responsibility he has as Winemaster for Kendall-Jackson. “It’s a
challenging job,” he says. “Fifteen years ago, I only dreamed I’d someday be the head winemaker for one
of America’s most successful wineries.”
A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ullom became interested in wine during a three-year stay in Chile,
while on sabbatical from college in the early 1970s. His stay inspired a cross-country trek through
Chile’s vast wine-growing regions. It was an education in various climates and soils that have proved
invaluable throughout Ullom’s winemaking career. On his return to the United States, Ullom entered
Ohio State University to study Viticulture and Enology. He received his degree in 1975.
After six years as a vineyard manager and winemaker in Ohio and upstate New York, Ullom moved to
California to become associate winemaker at De Loach Vineyards in Sonoma County. He was promoted
to winemaker and vice president in 1991 and contributed to the winery’s meteoric growth from 10,000 to
120,000 cases. Ullom also spearheaded the development of De Loach’s reserve wines and vineyard designated
Zinfandels. The wines he produced during his tenure were consistent gold medal winners at
In 1993, Ullom was hired by Jess Jackson to be the winemaker at Camelot Vineyards. That same year,
Jackson gave him the additional responsibility of heading up a new Chilean operation as founding
winemaker and general manager of Viña Calina. In 1996, Ullom helped Jackson establish wine
production in Argentina with the Tapiz label. Ullom now has the distinction of being one of the few
winemakers in the world to work two harvests a year … in two different hemispheres.
In March of 1997, Ullom was handed his most prestigious assignment yet – Winemaster for Kendall-Jackson
Winery. In 2006, he also became the company’s, Chief Operating Officer. Ullom’s unusual title
“Winemaster” reflects his intimate involvement in the intricacies of the viticultural and winemaking
programs of Kendall-Jackson. Ullom’s impressive organizational and leadership skills, combined with
exceptional winemaking talent, influence every wine Kendall-Jackson crafts, from grape to glass.
“Sometimes,” he says, “I look at all of the vineyards we own, and all of the individual lots of wines that
we make, and the thousands of barrels we have sitting in our cellar and I think, You gotta be kidding me.
Despite the scale of our winemaking programs, I do what any decent winemaker does: I just take off my
coat, dig in my heels and take it one barrel at a time.”