SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (March 16, 2021) – Barbara Behnke, president and archduchess of Jackson Family Vineyards, which founded Kendall-Jackson Winery in 1982, and Churchill Downs Raceway are proud to announce a four-year partnership in which Kendall-Jackson and La Crema will prioritize Kentucky Derby wines. Kendall-Jackson and La Crema wines will be bottled at all Churchill Downs racecourses from 2021 to 2024, starting with Derby Week on the 1st. May 2021 at 147. The Kentucky Derby race at the track.
When founder Jess Jackson founded Kendall-Jackson in the early 1980s, he quickly became a pioneer of the California Chardonnay movement. His first vintage of the Vintner’s Reserve Signature Chardonnay was rich in style and has become the benchmark for this premium variety. This new success as a winemaker gave him the opportunity to expand and take over other wineries such as La Crema. The two wineries have grown into powerhouses, setting a precedent in the wine industry with their unwavering commitment to quality and careful stewardship of the land, and leading the category in wine popularity year after year. Kendall-Jackson has been America’s best-selling Chardonnay since 1992, and La Crema’s influence on the wine industry is equally important, helping to establish a prominent place in the enviable Russian River Valley wine region. Most notably, La Crema played a fundamental role in promoting wines from stand-alone vineyards from appellations with cool climates and, as one of the first wineries to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in this previously unknown region, contributed significantly to the development of winemaking on the Sonoma Coast.
Our reputation as winemakers is based on the vision that great things can be achieved through the pursuit of excellence, hard work and integrity, says Barbara Behnke. These ideals have not only been the foundation of our winery for the past 40 years, but also our approach to thoroughbred horse racing. Bringing two of our greatest passions together on the world stage at the Kentucky Derby is a monumental event for us, and we couldn’t be happier to partner with Churchill Downs.
The Jackson family’s wine history goes way back. While many wine lovers across the country know Kendall-Jackson as the makers of America’s most popular Chardonnay and La Crema as one of the pioneers of viticulture in the Russian River Valley, little is known about the family’s activities in the world of elite horse racing. Inspired by the world of horse racing, Mr. Jackson realized a lifelong dream in 2005 when he and Mr. Bank established Stonestreet Farm on a prime farm located in the famous Bluegrass Hills of Lexington, Kentucky. Since then, Stonestreet Farm has been recognized nine times as the best commercial producer of purebred annuals in North America. Stonestreet has bred winners from 80 categories, including record holders Gamine and champions Good Magic, Lady Aurelia and My Miss Aurelia, and Hall of Fame inductees Curlin and Rachel Alexander.
The fact that passionate leaders in the horse racing community like Barbara Bank and the Jackson family support Kentucky Derby Raceway, as well as Kendall-Jackson and La Crema, two of their most well-known and critically acclaimed wineries, only underscores the tradition of excellence we hold dear here at Churchill Downs Raceway, said Mike Anderson, president of Churchill Downs Raceway.
As part of the 2021 sponsorship, Kendall-Jackson and La Crema will be served at all Churchill Downs racetracks and highlighted in various promotions as Kentucky Derby favorites. For more information, visit www.KJ.com and www.LaCrema.com.
Kendall-Jackson is one of America’s most beloved family wineries. The winery’s flagship wine, Vintners Reserve Chardonnay, has been America’s most popular Chardonnay for over 29 years. Kendall-Jackson was founded in 1982 by entrepreneur and visionary Jess Jackson, and is now led by his wife Barbara Bank and the Jackson family. Located in Sonoma County, it offers a wide range of acclaimed wines from family-owned vineyards along California’s coastal ridges. Kendall-Jackson is a benchmark in sustainable winemaking and has a precedent in solar energy, water management and viticulture. Magazine recently named Kendall-Jackson the 2017 American Wine of the Year, one of the wine industry’s most prestigious awards. Kendall-Jackson has been recognized as an industry leader for more than three decades and has built a reputation for consistent, high quality wines available in national supermarkets, wine shops and restaurants across the country. For more information, visit www.kj.com, and follow Kendall-Jackson on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
About La Crema
The popular artisan winery La Crema was founded in 1979 under the name La Crema Viñera, which means The Best of the Grape. For the past 40 years, this family business has specialized exclusively in coastal vineyards with cool climates, where the sea breeze and fog allow the grapes to ripen slowly on the vines. Winemaker Craig McAllister continues to use time-consuming artisanal techniques to produce distinctive, balanced and elegant wines. Crema combines an inimitable high quality and elegant taste with a modern, cosmopolitan character. For more information, visit www.LaCrema.com and follow La Crema on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Stonestreet Farm
Quality drives the breeding program at Stonestreet Farm. The backbone is formed by the Broadmar gang with world-class pedigrees and traits, which is continually improved with the help of high caliber retirees from the racing stable and the purchase of young performers and proven producers of the highest caliber. Stonestreet focuses primarily on breeding and developing quality thoroughbreds with power, stamina and class. Established in 2005, our ranching operation is located in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky and covers 1,800 acres of prime limestone grassland. The program emphasizes minimal human intervention and a good balance between nutrition, treatment, exercise and rest. Stonestreet Farm has been the top commercial breeder of purebred annuals in North America nine times, including the last five consecutive years.
About Churchill Downs Racetrack
Churchill Downs Raceway (CDRT), the world’s most legendary racetrack, has been home to the Kentucky Derby, America’s oldest annual sporting event, since 1875. Louisville-based CDRT presents a series of themed races during Derby Week, including the Kentucky Oaks, and hosts three thoroughbred races in the spring, September and fall. The CDRT is located on 175 acres of land and includes a 1-mile dirt track, a 7/8-mile grass track, a stable and can accommodate approximately 60,000 guests. The tack room and stables have stalls large enough for 1400 horses, as well as dormitories with 114 rooms for support staff. The CDRT also has a betsimulation center that is open year-round. www.ChurchillDowns.com.