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Wine visionary Jess Jackson remembered

  • Jess Jackson is shown with his dog, Robbie, in this 2005 file photo. (CHARLIE GESELL/Press Democrat)

Memories of Jess Jackson poured in Thursday as word of his death at the age of 81 spread across Wine Country. A sampling:

“Jess Jackson was a force to be reckoned with. He was a tough guy but on the other side he was a straight-shooter — very honest and he directed the people in his company to do things in an honest way ... So often in the industry you get the posers, but Jess Jackson really talked the talk and walked the walk.” — Richard Arrowood, co-founder and winemaker of of Amapola Creek Vineyards

“Jess was man of very strong principle who stood up for what he believed in. There won't be another one to come along like Jess Jackson for a long time.” — Fred Furth, friend, attorney, and former owner of Chalk Hill winery.

“Jess Jackson introduced an audience to the premium and super-premium level that no one knew existed. Once they got there, they continued to try other high end brands. That's how he benefited so many of us in our industry, and for that we will always be grateful. People who taste and learn about good wine tend to keep buying up.” — Christopher Silva, president, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

“He was a guy that just didn't accept the status quo. He said ‘If I can do it better, I'll just do it myself,' and he did.” — Jon Fredrikson, wine industry analyst

“One of my fondest memories is I was up early one Sunday morning photographing the sunrise over Alexander Mountain and he comes around the corner in his Land Cruiser and I asked him ‘How come you're not in church?' He had this big grin and surveyed his vineyards and said, ‘This is my cathedral.' ” — George Rose, former vice president of corporate communications for Jackson Family Wines.

“On behalf of the Gallo family and our company, I want to extend our sincere condolences to Jess Jackson's family and his employees. Jess embodied the American dream and he had a significant impact on our state's wine industry.” — Joseph Gallo, CEO and president, E&J Gallo Winery

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