Randy Ullom - Takes It One Barrel At A Time

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RandyUllom5[1].JPGWinemaster & Chief Operating Officer
Kendall-Jackson Vineyards & Winery

A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Randy 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 has 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 wine competitions.

Camelot%20Highlands%20SB%20Sunset[1].jpgIn 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.

kjredglass[1].jpgUllom'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."

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A question for Randy. I grew up in Jackson, MI. What are your favorite "old and new" world wines? Top 5 of each (Europe, US, Australia, South America). Best, Glenn

Great Wines require good organic vs chemical farming techniques. New blog on the Hx. of the Ladybug: http://historyoftheladybug.blogspot.com/

Hi Glenn

Thank you for your interest.

I would generally say that from S America, the Malbecs from Argentina , especially the higher altitudes of the Tupungato Valley near Mendoza , are great, Salentein, Catena, our ex Tapiz, Clos de Los Siete etc.

Tannats from Uruguay are also intense.

Chile has some wonderful Cabs, esp Casillero de Diablo, from C y T, Our very own Vina Calina ( try the Alcance Merlot too ), and their Chards are nice too from Casablanca and Limari.

France and the " old " world- A nice bottle of Petrus always entices the nuances of the evening, or a Chard from Chasagne Montrachet ( sp? ). It is really the most fun, if able, to just be in a region there, be it Italy, France or Spain, and ask the waiter at the local restaurant what is good from that local area, as there are just so many wonderful hidden jewels out there.

In the US: Hobbs, Hartford Court, La Crema, Rodney Strong all can be found on my table along with KJ, all nice fruit forward elegant wines. One suggestion, go with those tied to a specific terroir, and a mountain one too for reds >

S Africa , can not really say as I only try those at Wine Trade shows, and those notes are no where to be found on short notice.!

In OZ, McClarenvale Shiraz is a winner, the Chards from Adelaide Hills also. The truly exciting areas are Tasmania and NZ , both for their Pinots's

Have fun


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