DB Awards 2016: a report on the winners

Woman of the Year

Barbara BankeBarbara Banke, chairman and proprietor, Jackson Family Wines

Having graduated from the UCLA and Hastings Law School, and spent more than a decade arguing cases before the US Supreme Court – as well as raising three children – our 2016 Woman of the Year turned her attention to the world of wine, devoting 20 years to leading a company she co-founded with her late husband, Jess.

However, when her beloved partner died in 2011 following a three-year battle with skin cancer, Barbara Banke single-handedly led the operation, continuing the same expansionist approach, while also nurturing the bedrock of its sales volumes: Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve – which presently accounts for 45% of the company’s volume, 60% of which comes from its Chardonnay alone.

On top of that our recipient has taken this vast family-owned company in new directions.

At the same time as expanding Jackson Family vineyards in its existing spheres of influence, such as Napa and Sonoma, she has also taken the company into different regions, above all Oregon, and into further countries, with a move last January into South Africa.

Overall she has spent more than US$100m in the past three years expanding operations, although still a small proportion of her estimated $2 billion net worth.

Looking ahead, Banke, aged 63, is aware that she’s readying Jackson Family Wines for the next generation. She compares her approach to the Antinori Family, which today is run by Piero Antinori with the support of his three daughters. “Jess and I have three children, and he has two older daughters from his first marriage, and we are all involved in different wineries, but we are a meritocracy,” she explains.

Her aim appears focused on the internationalisation of Jackson Family Wine’s winemaking and sales operation. Exemplifying the rapid pace of change in the latter, she says, “Today we have 45 people selling our wines around the world – five years ago, that was just six.”

Barbara says the positioning of the business is simple: “We just want to be known now and in the future for the best wines in the world.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

We encourage debate in the comments section and always welcome feedback, but if you spot something you don't think is right, we ask that you leave an accurate email address so we can get back to you if we need to.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Events & Admin Assistant

The Drinks Business
London SE1, UK

Brand Manager - Key Wine Partners

MMI Dubai
Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Business Development Manager

Bashall Spirits
Lancashire, UK

Territory Manager - London​

Cadrona Distillery
London, UK

Business Development Manager

Lucozade Ribena Suntory

Customer Marketing Manager

London NW1, UK

Export Assistant Co-ordinator - Maternity Cover

Speciality Drinks
Whitby Avenue, London NW10 7SF, UK

Customer Services Administrator - On Trade

Speciality Drinks
Whitby Avenue, London NW10 7SF, UK

Fruit Focus 2019

East Malling,United Kingdom
17th Jul 2019

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show

San Francisco,USA
23rd Jul 2019

The Wine Show Chelsea 2019

London,United Kingdom
18th Oct 2019
Click to view more

The Tuscan Masters 2019

Deadline : 1st July 2019

The Global Grenache Masters 2019

Deadline : 5th July 2019

Click to view more

The Global Riesling Masters 2018

View Results

Global Chardonnay Masters 2018

View Results

Click to view more