SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. - Kendall-Jackson announced today that Tucker Taylor will assume the role of culinary gardener to rejuvenate the winery's sensory and culinary gardens at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens in Santa Rosa. Taylor will also develop garden sites at additional wineries within the Jackson Family Wines collection along coastal regions including Alexander Valley, Russian River, Anderson Valley and Arroyo Seco.
Most recently, Taylor spent five years transforming the gardens of Chef Thomas Keller's French Laundry into a captivating destination known for rare, specialty produce. Taylor will continue his emphasis on gardener and chef collaboration developed while at the French Laundry to inspire creativity in the kitchens at Kendall-Jackson. His attention to detail and holistic approach will provide an immense range of exceptional specialty herbs, vegetables, fruits and edible flowers for the culinary program led by executive chef Justin Wangler. Their culinary partnership will include an ongoing exploration of innovative wine and food pairings at Partake by K-J, Kendall-Jackson's new eatery and tasting lounge in downtown Healdsburg featuring a menu driven by the winery's gardens.
"We are excited to collaborate with someone who has such passion for growing honest, amazing flavors in the garden," said Wangler, "Taylor brings his vast experience and expertise from one of the world's most beloved restaurants to Kendall-Jackson. He'll introduce our culinary team to new plants and new possibilities that will enhance the quality and consistency in our culinary creations."
Taylor's vision builds on the winery's commitment to sustainability as well as the garden's foundation with an emphasis on increased productivity and plant diversity. A priority is soil building through the use of organic compost, crop rotation and cover crops to ensure healthier soils and promote biodiversity. Additionally, Taylor will narrow plant beds and introduce an intensive hand-tilling program to help yield superior quality produce while growing quantities. A new hoop house in the garden will introduce year-round, fresh produce using a passive heating system which will increase productivity.
"When I first saw the K-J gardens, I envisioned a place that truly embraces every aspect of wine country," said Taylor. "This will become a beautifully diverse and inviting place where visitors can connect with the source of their food. Guests will learn first-hand how fresh, just-picked ingredients are the beginning of an exceptional dish and how the garden enhances the dining experience."
In addition to infusing the culinary program with a wider variety of specialty produce, Taylor will work with winery gardener David Gonzalaz to revitalize the Wine Estate & Garden's design. Developed in 1997 by renowned gardener Jeff Dawson, Taylor will take the popular Sonoma County destination to a new level of sophistication. Taylor's refinements will encourage guests to spend more time in the garden with design enhancements including improved walking paths, taller perennial borders, water features and a central space for true garden-to-table dining experiences.
The majority of changes at the K-J Wine Estate & Gardens will be in place by Saturday, September 28th in time to celebrate the 17th Annual Kendall-Jackson Tomato Festival, a day of outstanding food, wine and entertainment.