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E-news #003: Summer 2004

In This Issue

Executive Director Message

By Clare M. Hasler

On Thursday, June 23, we celebrated a very significant milestone in the life of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science (RMI) at UC Davis -- the groundbreaking of the academic building.

Over 450 UC Davis students, staff, and alumni from the departments of Viticulture and Enology and Food Science and Technology, wine and food industry representatives, and state and local politicians were on hand to recognize and honor those whose commitment and vision have been responsible for moving us one step closer to the goal of positioning UC Davis as the global innovator in university-based wine and food sciences research, education, and engagement.

The groundbreaking ceremony was significant in many ways, including the fact that it was the first public announcement of the RMI Honorary Board (see story following). Several founding board members, members of the Mondavi family, and top university administrators enjoyed a private, intimate dinner at the home of Robert and Margrit Mondavi in Napa Valley the evening before the groundbreaking to celebrate the formation of this auspicious group. I am so grateful to Robert and Margrit for hosting this elegant gathering at their Wappo Hill home!

I can't fully express my gratitude to the incredible team of individuals from across campus that made the groundbreaking a truly spectacular event -- one that will be etched in my memory for years to come! Extra special thanks goes to my assistant Jean Wigglesworth. There is no doubt in my mind that the groundbreaking would not have been such an overwhelming success were it not for her unwavering energy, enthusiasm, organization, attention to detail, and positive attitude!

For more details on the groundbreaking and wine and food sciences technology showcase and reception that followed, please see the full story by Tom Fuller below in "Events" and accompanying photo gallery. Also keep an eye on the RMI Web site ( for a "time lapse photography" update on the progress of construction taken from the roof of the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, courtesy of CA&ES Webmaster John Weston, who obviously doesn't have a fear of heights!

Thanks again to everyone who was responsible for making this momentous milestone a reality! My best to all of you for a most enjoyable summer!


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RMI Honorary Board Created

By Clare M. Hasler

It gives me extraordinary pleasure to announce that a select group of food and wine industry innovators, pioneers, and entrepreneurs have agreed to serve on the RMI Honorary Board.

  • Francis Ford Coppola (Filmmaker and Owner, Neibaum-Coppola Winery)
  • Gordon and Ann Getty (Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation)
  • Agustin Huneeus (Chair, Franciscan Estates)
  • Fritz Maytag (President, Anchor Brewing Co.)
  • Robert and Margrit Mondavi
  • Paul Montrone (Chair and CEO, Fisher Scientific International Inc.)
  • Wolfgang Puck (Master Chef and Chair, Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc.)
  • Martin Yan (Master Chef and Television Personality)

This distinguished group of visionaries has graciously agreed to serve as volunteer ambassadors for the RMI to promote its vital vision, "Enhancing the quality of life through wine and food sciences." Their expertise and leadership will represent, inspire, and honor the UC Davis legacy of food, wine, and quality of life for future generations, and we thank them for their generosity and support!

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RMI Executive Committee Chair Message

By Robert Powell, Chair

Charles Bamforth Appointed to RMI Executive Committee

The RMI Executive Committee is delighted to welcome Charles Bamforth, professor and chair, Department of Food Science and Technology, and the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Science. Professor Bamforth's research group focuses on various aspects of brewing science and beer.

One major area relates to the physical chemistry of beer, exploring foam and flavor stability, as well as the composition and breakdown of the cell wall in barley. Other areas relate to the consumer and health. He is particularly interested in the wholesomeness of beer and its role in a healthful diet.

Charles Bamforth
From its inception, Professor Bamforth has been a central figure in the RMI. He was a member of the original committee that developed the vision and strategic plan. In that role, he was a leading advocate for positioning the RMI to have the broadest impact possible while ensuring that its programs would be firmly underpinned by sound science.

Through his efforts, Anheuser-Busch was engaged in the initial planning of the RMI. This resulted in the development of plans for a state-of-the-art brewing laboratory in the new RMI complex, and ultimately a $5 million gift from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation to name the Brewing and Food Science Laboratory which will accompany the academic building.

Professor Bamforth joins the RMI Executive Committee as he assumes his new role as chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology. In that position, he will shape the department as it moves to a new future in new facilities. Professor Bamforth's participation on the RMI Executive Committee is absolutely crucial as the RMI begins to realize its strategic goals.


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Robert Mondavi Receives Several Prestigious Awards

By Clare M. Hasler

At the age of 92, Robert Mondavi is still widely recognized as the global emissary of American food and wine. In recent months, he received severalprestigious awards for his pivotal role in establishing the wines of California as among the best in the world.

In April, Mr. Mondavi was one of six individuals honored with the Ellis Island Family Heritage Award, presented annually to a select number of Ellis Island immigrants. Later in April, he was awarded the distinctive Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de la Légion d'honneur by H.E. Jean-David Levitte, the ambassador of France, at the Opus One Winery in Napa Valley, California. The Legion of Honor was introduced in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte to honor the highest level of achievement; it is France's highest presidential honor.

Mr. Mondavi, who celebrated his 92nd birthday at 2005 Vinexpo in Bordeaux, was honored for his services to the wine industry by the Institute of Masters of Wine and Drinks Business magazine. Before a specially invited audience of 200 of the most influential people in the wine business, Mr. Mondavi was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by La Baronne Philippine de Rothschild.

Charlie Shoemaker Steps Down as Food Science and Technology Department Chair

By Teri Wolcott

Charlie Shoemaker stepped down as chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology on June 30. After two five-year terms of effective andCharlie Shoemaker dedicated service as chair, he will hand over these responsibilities to Professor Charlie Bamforth and focus on the "normal" teaching, research, and outreach activities of a faculty member.

Under Charlie's leadership, the department recruited outstanding faculty members Linda Harris and Glenn Young in the area of food safety microbiology, and Alyson Mitchell, a food chemist and assistant professor. When the Anheuser-Busch Foundation established the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Chair in Malting and Brewing Sciences, Charlie led an international search that attracted Charlie Bamforth to accept that endowed position.

Shoemaker's vision and persistence led to renovation of outdated and underutilized space to create the Bor S. Luh Foods Lab for teaching and outreach use. Prior to this lab, the department had no acceptable "food grade" facilities for preparing food for consumption nor any "conducting" labs requiring baking, cooking, etc. to prepare products for testing. Now students work in appropriate conditions for food chemistry and product development classes.

Another of Charlie's significant contributions is strengthening ties with the culinary world. He was active on the program committee of Copia, the American Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts, in Napa, in its early stages, and collaborated with the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone, on conferences and programs.

Building on his love of chocolate, Charlie initiated professional education classes for chocolate and other confectionery manufacturing. In the past few years, over 150 professionals from large and small food companies worldwide spent a week in the Bor S. Luh Foods Lab learning to create confectionery masterpieces.

Since September 2001 when the Mondavi's gift led to the creation of the RMI and the promise of new academic facilities was announced, Charlie has worked tirelessly with campus and external architects, planners, consultants, and faculty to plan for food science's teaching, research, and outreach space in the new RMI complex. He is an instrumental member of the RMI Building Committee that is shaping the facilities we eagerly anticipate.

Throughout his tenure as department chair, Charlie fostered an appreciation for the food science department's history, including presenting a seminar series in which emeritus faculty spoke about the department and their careers. He also initiated a written version of the department's history, which he will add to through his teaching, research, and outreach endeavors. We wish him all the best!

Oliver Ramsey Leaves the RMI and UC Davis

By Jean Wigglesworth

We are sad to report that Oliver Ramsey, director of campaign initiatives for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES), left the university and accepted a position as a fundraiser for the St. Helena Hospital Foundation. Oliver's last day was Friday, July 1. We wish him all the best in his new position.

The CA&ES Dean's office is conducting a national search for Oliver's replacement. For information relative to the RMI teaching and research winery, please contact Allison Chilcott, director of major gifts,

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RMI Groundbreaking

By Tom Fuller

On a nearly picture perfect day, the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science broke ground on June 23, 2005. Over 450 dignitaries, staff,alumni, and media were on hand to witness the historic event as Robert and Margrit Mondavi "broke ground," utilizing an oversized corkscrew designed specifically for the ceremony by UC Davis alumnus Troy Corliss.

In addition to the Mondavi's, Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Clare M. Hasler, executive director of the RMI, and Doug Muhleman, group vice president of brewing operations and technology at Anheuser-Busch Inc., joined the groundbreaking ceremony — with the aid of a giant fork and bottle opener, also designed by Corliss.

Robert Mondavi called it "…a great day for everyone interested in wine and food" and "an honor for our family, which has been involved in wine and food for four generations." Mondavi predicted great things from the RMI for many years to come.

Representing the state's investment in the institute through voter-approved bonds were California Assemblymember Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and State Senators Mike Machado, D-Linden, and Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata. During his address, Machado stated that wine has a $45 billion impact on California's economy, and the food industry contributes another $103 billion. "Keeping this state on a competitive edge is its innovative spirit, its faculty, its students, and, in particular, the University of California here at Davis."

Immediately after the ceremony, guests attended a wine and food sciences showcase and reception in the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, adjacent to the RMI site. The showcase featured displays and generous contributions from the Almond Board of California, Anheuser-Busch Inc., Beringer Blass Wine Estates NA, California Dried Plum Board, California Olive Oil Commission, California Pear Advisory Board, California Pistachio Commission, California Rice Commission, California Strawberry Commission, California Vegetable Specialties, California Walnut Commission, Clos La Chance, Crystal Geyser Water Company, Davis Farmers Market, Guittard Chocolate Company, McClarty Farms, Robert Mondavi Winery, Mushroom Council, Pellegrini Family Winery, Traverso Wines, and UC Davis Olive Oil.

In addition, the departments of Food Science and Technology and Viticulture and Enology and a historical video presentation were featured. A chocolate fountain provided by Guittard was a big hit, as were the delicious strawberries. A popular take-home item was the RMI Groundbreaking special-label beer "born" on June 23, 2005, at the Anheuser-Busch Inc.'s Fairfield facility.

The historic day culminated with a dinner at Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef's residence, where Robert Mondavi's 92nd birthday (earlier in June) was celebrated.

Hasler called the groundbreaking celebration "…an historic occasion, not only for the institute and UC Davis, but also for the state of California. In a very tangible way, we are taking the first step toward drawing together the people, ideas, and resources that will position the RMI as the global innovator in university-based wine and food programs."

Indicating the importance of the groundbreaking, several media were in attendance, including the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Wine Spectator, Santé Magazine, the Davis Enterprise, and more. Feature articles appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle,, the Napa Valley Register, the Wine Spectator, and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, among others. For links to the stories, see the "RMI in the News" below.

Scheduled to open in early 2008, the RMI will house UC Davis' top-ranked departments of Viticulture and Enology and Food Science and Technology. A 129,600-square-foot academic building will be constructed first, built in three wings wrapped around a courtyard facing westward toward a teaching vineyard. The courtyard will contain demonstration gardens and serve as a venue for special events.

A 46,000 square-foot teaching and research winery and a 14,000 square-foot brewing and food science laboratory named by the Anheuser-Busch Foundation with a $5 million gift also will be built.

Construction of the institute's academic building is made possible by a combination of state and private funds. In 2004, California voters earmarked $33.6 million for construction of the institute's academic building as part of the $12.3 billion statewide Proposition 55 bond measure.

The RMI was established in 2001 with a $25 million gift from Robert Mondavi. The teaching and research winery and the Anheuser-Busch Brewing and Food Science Laboratory are being funded entirely by donations and private support. Among the many early donors to these projects are Ronald and Diane Miller of Silverado Vineyards, who donated $1 million for the institute's winery; Beringer Blass Wine Estates NA, which supported construction of the winery's hospitality rooms; and Wendell Jacob, who is funding the demonstration vineyard in memory of his father, Harry E. Jacob.

Upcoming Events:

  • September 11-14, 2005
    Second Annual Invitational Leadership Forum
    Flavor, Quality & American Menus
    Napa Valley and Davis, CA
    Coming soon at

Research/Faculty News

Andrew Walker's Research Featured

By Tom Fuller

On May 25, 2005, the Associated Press ran an in-depth story on the threat of Pierce's disease to the California wine industry. UC Davis V&E Professor Andy Walker was featured prominently in this piece, focusing on his research and efforts to develop disease-resistant vines. The story ran in dozens of newspapers in major markets across the country, once again confirming UC Davis as the leader in the viticulture sciences. A partial transcript of the story is below.

By Michelle Locke, Associate Press
NAPA - "Not in my backyard!" is the bold-faced cry of the sign posted beside the Napa highway. The interloper in question, though, isn't a hulking new development or stinky chemical plant. It's a little brown bug called the glassy-winged sharpshooter that can take down mighty vineyards with deadly precision.

The NIMBY campaign enlisting Napa County residents as vector vigilantes is part of California vintners' war with the sharpshooter, which spreads a fatal vine affliction known as Pierce's disease.

Among the projects is an attempt to turn grapes into warriors by developing fruit with resistance to Pierce's disease. Wild grapes already exist that can fight off the disease; unfortunately they aren't too tasty. University of California, Davis, viticulture professor Andrew Walker is using traditional crossbreeding techniques to try to come up with a disease-resistant grape that tastes good.

Researchers say the fruit quality has improved significantly in two generations and the plants remain highly resistant to Pierce's disease.

Walker and his lab are also developing molecular maps that are providing DNA markers to accelerate breeding and help locate the resistance genes in wild grapes. The eventual goal is to insert the genes into classic wine grape varieties. That is a far more controversial area of research, although Walker notes it is grape-to-grape as opposed to inserting DNA from a nonrelated species. Genetically engineered grapes are at least a decade away and aren't likely to be used in wine unless public attitudes change. For now, it seems unlikely they'd be embraced by detail-obsessed wine connoisseurs who want to know precisely where the grapes in their bottle originated. Still, biotech opponents are concerned about what may happen.

For the full story visit file:

RMI in the News

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Contributors to "RMI E-newsletter"

  • Clare M. Hasler, Executive Director, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, (530) 754-6349,
  • Allen Lowry, Sr. Project Manager, Architects & Engineers, (530) 757-3391,
  • Leslie Butler, Marketing Specialist, Agricultural & Resource Economics, (530) 752-3681,
  • Rachael Goodhue, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Economics, (530) 754-7812,
  • Jill McCluskey, Associate Professor of Marketing and Agribusiness in the School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University, (509) 335-6653,
  • Melissa Haworth, Director of Major Gifts, CA&ES Dean's Office, (530) 754-8562,
  • Patricia Glass, Administration/Event Coordinator, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, (530) 754-6349,
  • Ann Filmer, Director of Communications, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, (530) 754-6788,


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