Kendall-Jackson wine family seeks community input on future of former Wikiup Golf Course

Susan Minichiello, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Sandy Steele doesn’t play golf, but before she lost her Wikiup Drive home in the October wildfires she relished the peaceful routine of walking her Labrador retrievers along the former Wikiup Golf Course.

Now in a rental with her husband about a mile from their homesite, she still visits her old street frequently and plans to rebuild. Just the other day, she was delighted to watch a mama fox chase a deer near the old fairways.

Alongside many other Larkfield-Wikiup residents, Steele, 75, hopes the former Wikiup Golf Course retains its country-style feel.

The future of the 31-acre property is now the topic of widespread discussion in the neighborhood after the family that owns the Kendall-Jackson wine empire revealed they purchased the golf course in 2015. And they’ve asked for community input on what the property should become.

Katie Jackson, vice president for sustainability and external affairs at Jackson Family Wines, hosted a June 14 meeting at San Miguel Elementary for area residents to give feedback on how the property — renamed Wikiup Commons — should be developed. About 150 area residents expressed their hopes, thoughts and concerns for the future of the former golf course, including the possibility of new housing to help replace some of the thousands of homes that burned down in the October wildfires.