It’s time we get used to using a new name for the iconic Kendall-Jackson Wine Center in Santa Rosa. In honor of a new garden, a new culinary program, and the hiring of world-class gardener and French Laundry alumni Tucker Taylor, the property on Fulton Road just off Hwy. 101 is now being called Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates & Gardens.
For the past five years, Taylor cultivated the magnificent culinary garden at Thomas Keller’s Three-Star Michelin property in Yountville. Yet now, Kendall-Jackson has just unveiled a big new kitchen set off the lobby of the wine tasting room, which is being used for newly added public events and private dinners on the estate. Too, KJ is also enjoying great success with its new Partake wine tasting room-slash-restaurant in Healdsburg, which features an array of Sonoma County’s best fresh produce.
So Taylor is completely revamping the three-acre winery garden, which was planted in 1997 by renowned gardener Jeff Dawson, who, incidentally, was one of Taylor’s early mentors. The garden was one of the first in Sonoma County to offer sensory experiences, as visitors could use plants to identify common characteristics of wines like cherry, raspberry, mint and lemon.
With the estate’s new emphasis on cooking, Taylor is expanding the crops of vegetables, fruits and herbs, adding boutique varieties of lettuces and artichokes, for example, plus a lavish herb garden outside the new kitchen door, so the chefs can pop out with scissors and harvest whatever they need. Besides the ancient walnut groves that frame the garden, Taylor is adding a natural fence of fig trees, corn, and Jerusalem artichokes that grow 15 feet tall.
The first round of mature plants should be thriving by September, in time for a Slow Food event and KJ’s annual Tomato Festival. Then, look for a series of events showcasing the verdant oasis. Taylor is creating a wide center pathway through the plants for event space, featuring trees lit up at night, water features and border shrubs.
Picture long tables right in the heart of the garden for communal feasts, for true ground-to-plate feasting.
Details: Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates & Gardens, 5007 Fulton Rd, Fulton/Santa Rosa, 707-571-8100, kj.com.
Tip: Make a green entrance to the garden parties, by hiring a private limo or Town Car for door-to-door service. Pure Luxury Transportation is a leader in environmental responsibility. As members of Green Ride Global™, Pure Luxury has committed to GHG emissions reductions from all areas of the company’s business operations of 20 percent over the next 5 years.