A Famous Winery Celebrates Heirloom Tomatoes

Wine and tomatoes aren't usually considered complementary, but Kendall-Jackson proves how well they can go together

A small sampling of the 150 tomato varieties in the Kendall-Jackson garden.

Tomatoes are not known for their affinity to wine — too much acidity and sweetness combined — but that hasn’t kept the Jackson family that owns Kendall-Jackson and several other wineries from having a long-term affair with the "love apple.”

Heirloom Tomato Fest at Kendall-Jackson Winery

Kendall-Jackson maintains a huge vegetable garden adjacent to its Santa Rosa headquarters for use in the many entertaining events the winery hosts, and they grow about 150 different heirloom varieties. Several years ago they came up with the idea of having an Annual Heirloom Tomato Festival, and 2016 marked the 20th celebration of the event.

It's a two-day affair involving a lot of tomato-based food and plenty of wine — a good opportunity for the winery to showcase its portfolio, from bottles for everyday drinking to single-vineyard, special-occasion offerings. It also invites several chefs and food-related business from the San Francisco Bay area to partner with the winery in taking part in a great event that supports local charities.


This year, I was invited to attend. After making my flight reservations, I dug out my heirloom salt shaker to take with me. I arrived on Friday evening.