Haute 100 San Francisco Update: Jess Jackson

Our Haute 100 list details the accomplishments of the most influential people in each of our markets—Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. These people continue to make moves, so rather than waiting for the next Haute 100 issue to come out, we thought we’d provide you with regular updates on those Haute 100ers who are making headlines. Check back daily for more info on the most powerful people in your city. Today, San Francisco’s Haute 100 member, Jess Jackson.

Jess Jackson
Category: Billionaires
Company: Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates
Industry: Wine
What MADE Him Haute: Jess Jackson, of the Sonoma County wine label, released his first wine in 1982 and forged a path of success that resulted in a billion-dollar business, with sales of the Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay racking up to two million cases annually. Stealing Jackson’s attention as of late has been his award-winning racehorse Rachel Alexandra, the “Reigning Horse of the Year.” She is scheduled to square off against Zenyatta, an undefeated mare, for a $5 million purse.

What Makes Him Haute Now: As we note in the “Work Hard, Play Hard” feature in the latest editions of Haute Living Miami and Haute Living New York, Jackson’s hobbies are as lucrative as his wine business. In the article, the author writes: “In 1938, my uncle took me to see Seabiscuit at Bay Meadows,” Jackson recalls with nostalgia. “It was the Depression, and the world needed a hero. Seabiscuit wasn’t perfectly conformed but he had real heart. That’s when it took hold in me.” Pending definition of success, Jackson, who today is the majority stakeholder in thoroughbred Curlin, has become as triumphant in breeding horses as he is in winemaking. Curlin has earned more than $10.5 million in total, making the thoroughbred the highest North American money earner, thanks to wins at the 2007 Preakness Stakes, the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic, and the 2008 Dubai World Cup. For all of Jackson’s efforts, HorseRaceInsider.com presented him with the Sportsman of the Year 2008 Insider Award. Still, perhaps Jackson’s biggest passion has been the outdoors, which consequently labored his professional success. “As I moved through law and my various careers, I was always drawn back to the outdoors: hiking through the Sierras, going up to the Trinity Alps, driving through the vineyards of California,” Jackson admits. “In hindsight, I was—with no particular awareness of it—migrating back to my family’s farming roots.” To find out the hobbies of other billionaire entrepreneurs, check out the entire article here.