Enjoying the great outdoors

Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson, talks about his favorite restaurants, horse tracks, and flying himself to Alaska.

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By Scott Gummer, contributor

jess_jackson.03.jpg
Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson

(Fortune Magazine) -- Wine and racehorses are mere hobbies for many entrepreneurs, but for Jess Jackson, 79, both remain big business.

Kendall-Jackson, the winery he founded in the late 1970s, is now the flagship for the collection of 35 wineries he owns around the world. In 2003, seeking a retirement opportunity, Jackson bought a racehorse. Just a few years later his Stonestreet Farms has produced Curlin, the highest-earning American horse in history, and Rachel Alexandra, the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes in 85 years.

We caught up with Jackson in Kentucky to talk travel.

1. Days on the road - About 100.

2. Home, sweet home - Half my time is spent on our horse farm in Lexington, Ky., and the rest in the Sonoma wine country.

3. Early bird - I prefer to rise around 6 a.m. and crash around 9 p.m. On evenings that I don't have an event to attend, I am out looking after the horses or the vineyards.

4. Breakfast of champions - Uncle Sam cereal bars.

5. Chocoholic - Good chocolate is irresistible. My weakness is an exotic chocolate bar, 70% to 80% cocoa, slightly bitter, lemon or orange flavored.

6. Favorite hotels - Essex House in New York, Four Seasons in Washington, D.C., Stanford Court in San Francisco.

7. Favorite restaurants - L'ami Louis in Paris. Milos in New York City for fish. For steak, you can't go wrong at the Capital Grille.

8. Idyllic getaway - Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii.

9. Cardio - When I am traveling, I try to put in half an hour on an elliptical trainer. My favorite exercise is the hike behind our Sonoma home, 1,500 feet up to a lookout over Alexander Valley.

10. Top track - I have a soft spot for Pimlico, where my horses Curlin and Rachel Alexandra both won the Preakness, but I love Saratoga in upstate New York. Wonderful fans, a beautiful, classic track. I rent a house there every August.

11. Jockey club - I have never ridden Rachel Alexandra. I used to play a little polo and considered myself a good horseman, but I quit riding about 10 years ago. The older you get, the harder the fall.

12. Wheels up - My first plane was a King Air. I like to fly, and I have flown all the way to Alaska with my instructor. I plan to get my pilot's license when I turn 80.

13. Ideal wine pairing - Cracked crab and sourdough bread with Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay.

14. Lost and found - I have a habit of leaving things in restaurants. I have lost countless pairs of glasses, hats -- even an expensive overcoat. I recently left my iPhone on a table, but the maître d' tracked me down.  To top of page

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