A Man and His Mountain is a fascinating read not simply because it is remarkable story about how Kendall Jackson rose to be a major force in the national and international wine industries, but it is an even better story about Jess Jackson’s search for happiness and the deeper realization of the purpose of life. Aristotle believed we achieve greater happiness by making wise choices. Jess Jackson’s life, as vividly illustrated in Edward Humes’ biography, was filled with wise choices. A Man and His Mountain chronicles the sequence of acts and choices, both about weighty issues and everyday matters, that Jess Jackson made in the context of where he came from and where he wanted to go.
Paul Schervish talks about the moral biography of wealth as the intersection of capacity and moral compass, or empowerment and character. Moral biography is the crossroads of freedom and purpose, effectiveness and significance, energy and strength of character, and material wherewithal and spiritual wherewithal. Wealth holders enjoy a substantially elevated level of material capacity and a more socially consequential moral compass. The exciting prospect of exploring the moral biography of Jess Jackson, is seeing the inner connection between the horizons of wealth and spiritual life. For Jess, there was a growing need for a process of conscientious self-reflection by which he could discern how to complement the growth in his material quantity of choice with a commensurate growth in the spiritual quality of choice. Jess Jackson choose to be a farmer because farming was a spiritual thing to him.
In the end, Jess built an enduring family wine dynasty. A Man and His Mountain is a story about perseverance and grit, vineyard and brand expansion, estate planning and multi-generational succession, and legacy. It’s a lasting story that grew out of the terroir of Sonoma County.