Randy Ullom is well aware of the responsibility he has as Winemaster for Kendall-Jackson. 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 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.
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.