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E-news #009: Winter 2007

Executive Director Message

By Clare M. Hasler

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Happy New Year!

This time of the year prompts many of us to think of new beginnings and our goals for the next 12 months. As part of a strategic planning process, the RMI Executive Committee has been discussing short- and long-term goals for the RMI. One of the top strategic goals will be facilitating and strengthening our engagement with the food and beverage industries.

Three executives from the beverage industry were featured speakers in the fall 2006 RMI Lectureship in November (see Fall 2006 Lectureship) and several other companies have visited the campus over the last few months to explore potential linkages. One of those visits has already resulted in a successful partnership. Executives at Fresh Express recently announced that they will endow a Graduate Student Support Fund (see Fresh Express Donates to Support Graduate Students). We hope this is only the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the company.

Givaudan, the industry leader in flavors and fragrances, also visited the campus recently (see Givaudan Representatives Visit Campus). The representatives were interested in learning more about UC Davis' expertise in the sensory sciences. We are currently exploring ways to work with Givaudan in a more formalized way. They are excited about the state-of-the-art sensory facility that will be housed in the academic building. And as you can see from the story below by Allen Lowry, we are well on the way to being able to showcase that facility - the opening of the academic building is less than 18 months away.

Donor contributions continue to be critical to the completion of the institute as there are two privately funded teaching and research facilities that will also be constructed to accompany the academic building: the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and Pilot Plant and a Teaching and Research Winery. I am pleased to announce that we are one step closer to raising the funds necessary to start construction on the winery with a recent gift from World Cooperage that will name the Barrel Room. Read more about this generous gift in the story by Darcie Bransford (see World Cooperage Barrel Room Named in New Winery).

This will be an exciting year for the RMI as we implement a new strategic plan and continue to observe the Institute complex move toward completion.

Wishing you the best in 2007!

Clare's Signature
Clare

Construction Update

By Allen Lowry

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January's dry weather keeps RMI building construction on target

The concrete shell of the Robert Mondavi Institute is rising rapidly into the air. Unimpeded by wet weather, construction of the walls and floor slabs are ahead of schedule. Normally, concrete-frame buildings such as this do not go up so quickly, as much of the electrical, plumbing, and steel must be installed, inspected, and tested before concrete is poured. So if you see a completed concrete wall or floor, you know that much of the utility work, normally exposed in steel buildings, is already in place. All major concrete work is expected to be complete by March 1. Projected clear weather bodes well for the rest of January, unless of course you are an orange grower…

The Flintco construction team, including their subcontractors, continues to impress, with most important product submittals already in and approved. The Architects and Engineers unit at UC Davis is in the middle of an intense round of review meetings with faculty from the departments of Viticulture and Enology and Food Science and Technology to verify that all of their spaces work and their equipment fits. We are starting to see deliveries of material that will go into the building: metal duct work, steel studs, and more piping. Following this we will see electrical wiring work, and some large equipment pieces going into the south lab basement and onto the roof. Construction is slightly ahead of schedule and is now 30% complete. It is not too early to be planning for a move into the building in June 2008.

Fall 2006 Lectureship

By Clare M. Hasler

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Barry Klein, UC Davis Vice Chancellor of Research, provides the campus welcome

Beverages were the theme of the RMI Fall Lectureship on November 9, 2006. Held in the Studio Room of the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, the event brought three industry thought-leaders to UC Davis to share their perspectives on three different beverage categories: soft drinks, beer, and wine.

Don Short, president of the Coca-Cola Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness started off the program with a presentation entitled, “Making Lemonade — Version 21.0: 21st Century Health and Wellness” in which he stressed the importance of academic institutions, government, and industry working together towards a “well world” and praised the leadership of UC Davis in this regard. View his presentation here.

Here’s to Beer! was the topic of the second lectureship speaker, Tom Shipley, director of Global Industry Development for Anheuser-Busch, Inc. His lively presentation addressed global marketing strategies and provided some interesting facts. For example, did you know that beer is not only 10,000 years old, but that the oldest recipe in the world is for beer? More facts on “The American Brew” can be found on an interesting and entertaining new Web site: www.herestobeer.com. View his presentation here.

The morning’s program concluded with a presentation by Clay Gregory, president of Jackson Family Wines, who discussed “The Family Business in the Age of Wine Industry Consolidation.” Gregory stated that passion, agility, a long-term view, focus, and a willingness to take risks are the attributes that will keep family wineries prosperous and thriving in the face of industry consolidation. His presentation can be viewed here.

Plans are underway for the spring lectureship. Keep an eye on the Web site for further details.

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Don Short, President of the Coca-Cola Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness, lectures on beverages and health in the 21st century
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Clay Gregory, President of Jackson Family Wines, with Clare Hasler, preparing for the lectureship
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Charles Bamforth, Food Science & Technology chair and Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences, provides an entertaining introduction to the second speaker
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Tom Shipley, Director of Global Industry Development for Anheuser-Busch Inc., discusses global marketing strategies for the world's most ancient beverage
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Clay Gregory, President of Jackson Family Wines, discusses the opportunities and challenges of a family-owned winery
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Lectures were followed with a delectable lunch, catered by Season's Restaurant, in the Rumsey-Rancheria Grand Lobby of the Mondavi Center

Center for Excellence in Fruit & Vegetable Quality

By Diane M. Barrett

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The Center for Excellence in Fruit and Vegetable Quality (CEFVQ) was created in January 2006, and in the year since its inception, has taken on a number of activities that will lay the groundwork for its future. Approximately 40 "core faculty" are involved with the center, representing seven primary interest areas:

Economics/Consumer/Sensory 6
Plant Breeding/Molecular Biology 5
Plant Production 4
Postharvest Biology & Technology 7
Composition & Analysis 7
Fruit & Vegetable Processing 5
Nutrition & Public Health 5

Ongoing Activities
Ongoing center activities include monthly seminars by core faculty to familiarize colleagues with research interests, and quarterly business meetings. Monthly seminars began in January 2006, with presentations by eight faculty throughout the calendar year (with a summer break). Seminars were given by the following faculty: Diane Barrett (fruit & vegetable processing), Beth Mitcham (postharvest biology), Jim Thompson (fruit & vegetable processing), Allen van Deynze (molecular biology), Dan Kliebenstein (molecular biology), Ken Shackel (plant production), Mikal Saltveit (postharvest biology) and Hildegarde Heymann (sensory science). PowerPoint versions of the seminars will be accessible on the center Web site, which is currently under development.

Quarterly business meetings were held in December 2005, and March, May, and November 2006. These meetings were utilized as a time for discussions regarding: our Web site and brochure, an industry affiliates program, grant opportunities, and an international conference. Subcommittees were established to focus on industry affiliates and grant opportunities.

Marketing
The brochure and Web site are being developed in collaboration with the CA&ES Dean’s Office. Activity first began on the brochure in August 2006, and is now completed; the Web site is being developed this month and will be featured on the RMI Web site, under the “Research Centers” category.

A “white paper” was written by Barrett entitled, “Maximizing the Nutrient Content of Fruits & Vegetables”, which will be published in the Journal of Food Science in April 2007. The manuscript will include a feature box on the Center for Excellence in Fruit and Vegetable Quality.

Grant Opportunities
Multidisciplinary proposals have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture by center faculty. The existence of the center provided an opportunity for faculty to meet and form collaborations. Barrett has conducted a search of USDA grant opportunities for potential center funding. In addition, in December 2006 a grant writer, Brent Morrison, was hired to search for federal, state, and private opportunities.

Marketing
Two new short courses complementary to center goals and in cooperation with center faculty were developed by Barrett and will be offered in 2007: (1) Methods of Measuring F&V Quality - Color & Texture. This two-day program was offered in May 2006 (40 attendees) and is scheduled again for May 2007 and (2) Methods of Measuring F&V Quality - Flavor. This one-day program is scheduled for April 2007

The Center for Excellence in Fruit and Vegetable Quality had a very eventful first year and continues to grow. We anticipate having our Web site completed by March 2007 and will soon beginning to contact industry members about their interest in our industry affiliates program.

Givaudan Representatives Visit Campus

By Melissa Haworth

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Givaudan visitors (left to right) Bob Eilerman, Paul Montague, and Chris Simons, join Clare Hasler at the Walter A. Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center

As the leader in the flavor and fragrance industry, Givaudan has a keen interest in employing well-trained sensory scientists and in learning more about current research in sensory and related fields. In November, a team from Givaudan spent a day on campus to learn more about UC Davis programs in sensory science. In attendance were Robert Eilerman, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Global Flavor R&D; Paul Montague, V.P. Human Resources Flavors, NA; and Christopher Simons, Sensory Research Scientist (and UC Davis alumnus.) The team learned about the research of faculty from across campus, including Earl Carstens, a professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior (NPB) who studies pain and itch sensory systems, and Hildegarde Heymann, Department of Viticulture and Enology, who is a sensory scientist working with wine and food. The visitors also heard about the design of, and potential for, the new Sensory Center which is currently under construction as part of the Robert Mondavi Institute project.

The visit is already paying dividends for both UC Davis and Givaudan. UC Davis students will have the opportunity to learn from the industry experience of Givaudan employee Dr. Jay Slack when he gives his lecture, “ThermoTRP Channels and Sensation” as part of the NPB seminar series, “Frontiers in Neurobiology.” Additionally, Paul Montague will return to campus in February to recruit potential employees at the UC Davis Winter Career Fair that focuses on careers in biotechnology, agriculture, business, food science, and health.

As a land-grant institution, UC Davis is always interested in reaching out to companies. The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science provides a portal for food, wine, and related industries to connect with campus. Visits to UC Davis provide companies an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the research going on at UC Davis and to meet the faculty and students who are making scientific breakthroughs. Visits also allow the campus to highlight areas of expertise and opportunities for companies to collaborate and provide support. If your company is interested in visiting UC Davis, please contact Melissa Haworth at mdhaworth@ucdavis.edu.

World Cooperage Barrel Room Named in New Winery

By Darcie Bransford

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The Robert Mondavi Institute and the Department of Viticulture and Enology received a generous gift from the Boswell Foundation and World Cooperage to establish the World Cooperage Barrel Room within the new winery. Founded in 1912, by T.W. Boswell, today the Boswell family's company World Cooperage is one of the top producers of American, French, and Eastern European oak barrels in the wine industry. Along with a cash donation to name the Barrel Room, World Cooperage will also supply barrels that will allow faculty and students to conduct research in the new winery.

World Cooperage officials John Boswell, chief executive officer; his son, Brad Boswell, president; and daughter, Amie Boswell Dewane, marketing director, all trustees of the Boswell Foundation, facilitated the donation by the foundation. The gift from World Cooperage and the naming of the World Cooperage Barrel Room will bring UC Davis one step closer to the fundraising goal for the winery. The new state-of-the-art winery is on schedule for grand opening in May 2008.

World Cooperage officials John Boswell, chief executive officer; his son, Brad Boswell, president; and daughter, Amie Boswell Dewane, marketing director, all trustees of the Boswell Foundation, facilitated the donation by the foundation. The gift from World Cooperage and the naming of the World Cooperage Barrel Room will bring UC Davis one step closer to the fundraising goal for the winery. The new state-of-the-art winery is on schedule for grand opening in May 2008.

The Boswell family owns and operates six stave and heading mills, including mills in France and Bulgaria, and fifteen log-buying yards spread throughout Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, and Kentucky. The cooperage division has two facilities, with the Lebanon, Missouri cooperage focusing on assembling and toasting American oak, French oak, and Eastern European oak wine barrels shipped internationally. World Cooperage is proud of the wine barrels it crafts and the special role it plays in high quality wines.

Department of Viticulture and Enology chairman Andrew Waterhouse believes the gift from World Cooperage will help students and researchers immensely. “Having a barrel room will allow us to finish experiments with real-life treatment of experimental lots. This will help improve the relevance of some key experiments on wine flavor, one of our major goals.”

The winery presents a unique opportunity for those who are passionate about wine to partner with the department in support of its long-standing tradition of excellence in teaching, scientific inquiry, and industry service. UC Davis is proud to have World Cooperage support this tradition.

Fresh Express Donates to Support Graduate Students

By Melissa Haworth

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Fresh Express, Inc., under the leadership of President Tanios Viviani, has committed $25,000 to endow the Fresh Express Incorporated Graduate Student Support Fund at UC Davis. Proceeds from the endowment will provide financial support to students in the Food Science Graduate Group.

Jim Lugg, president of TransFresh, shared the good news with Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, during Van Alfen's visit in December to Fresh Express’ Salinas headquarters. UC Davis alumni Courtney Parker, Galen Peiser, and Joan Rosen also participated in the visit and updated Dean Van Alfen on Fresh Express' recent initiatives. Parker, Peiser, and Rosen all earned graduate level degrees at UC Davis and were supportive of the fund providing for graduate level students. Dr. Charlie Bamforth, chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology agrees. "Graduate student support is critical," said Bamforth. "This endowment will give students the means to pursue opportunities that might otherwise have been out of reach. I am thrilled that the gift from Fresh Express will recognize and encourage the excellence of our graduate students."

Fresh Express is the leading producer of value-added salads in North America. In an unprecedented move, the company announced earlier this month that they will commit up to $2 million to fund rigorous and multidisciplinary research to help the fresh-cut produce industry prevent contamination by the destructive Escherichia coli 0157:H7 pathogen, which has caused numerous outbreaks over the past decade, including the recent occurrence related to fresh spinach.

UC Davis Develops New Online Registry for Grape Varieties

UC Davis News Service

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A listing of grape varieties and where they can be obtained throughout the United States is now available at a new Web site designed to help grape growers and researchers find appropriate grape plants. The registry can be found at http://ngr.ucdavis.edu/

Developed and maintained at UC Davis, the new registry is intended to be a user-friendly source for all grape plant material available in the United States, including wine, table, juice and raisin grapes, as well as grape rootstock.

"The main emphasis of the site is to help growers, nurseries, winemakers and researchers find the plant material they need," said Deborah Golino, director of Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis. "We hope the site will make it easier to find domestic sources for diverse grape varieties and clones, and to identify plant material that has been tested and certified as free of certain grapevine diseases." She noted that quarantine regulations and the high cost of bringing in new grape stock from abroad make it critical for growers and researchers to be able to locate existing plant material already in the United States.

Each of the 650 varieties listed in the registry is profiled, with information provided about its pedigree, origin and use. Registry visitors are also provided with reference material that they can consult for further information, as well as listings of commercial grapevine nurseries and public grapevine collections.

In addition to the lists of varieties and contact information for nurseries and public collections, the site has a database that allows users to enter any number of synonyms for grape names and search for the name most commonly used in the United States.

According to Ed Stover, curator of the National Clonal Germplasm Repository and author of the proposal that initiated the project, "Many important grape varieties from the Old World have as many as 20 or 30 different synonyms. With the creation of the National Grape Registry Web site, we have a new, simple tool for checking synonyms from many different countries and in many different languages. This is an extraordinary solution to a problem that has vexed grape growers and winemakers for years."

Funding for the registry project was provided to UC Davis' Foundation Plant Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Davis through a two-year grant from the Viticulture Consortium West and the American Vineyard Foundation. The online registry will be supported by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, Foundation Plant Services, and the National Clonal Germplasm Repository of the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

For further information, contact Deborah Golino, Foundation Plant Services, (530) 752-3590, dagolino@ucdavis.edu

Research/Faculty News

UC Experts To Draft California's New Auto Emissions Policy

UC Davis News Service

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RMI Executive Committee member Dan Sperling is one of four experts from UC Davis and UC Berkeley writing a new, groundbreaking air-quality standard to reduce carbon emissions from transportation fuels announced earlier this month by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Sperling is director of UC Davis' Institute of Transportation Studies and an international authority on research and development in advanced transportation fuels and fuel technology.

Sperling said: "This very innovative and very important new policy will be a model for the rest of the world. It will help the state reduce oil imports, reduce greenhouse gases, and boost investments in alternative fuels. It will steer energy policy and investments for many years." This topic was highlighted in the governor's State of the State address.

 

Conferences and Seminars

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Recent Advances in Viticulture and Enology, Thursday, March 22
8:45 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Freeborn Hall, UC Davis

In an ongoing effort to share the latest applied research and to facilitate communication with the wine industry, The Trellis Alliance and the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology are co-sponsoring this event. The purpose of this annual meeting is to encourage interaction between the researchers conducting applied research and those in the wine and winegrape industries who ultimately benefit from this research. This year's program will focus on a practical approach to measuring, appreciating, and manipulating phenolics in grapes and wine.

The course fee includes lunch and tasting. To learn more about the program or to enroll, be on the lookout for the RAVE link at: http://extension.ucdavis.edu/unit/winemaking/

Contributors to "RMI E-newsletter"

  • Clare Hasler, Executive Director, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, (530) 754-6349, cmasler@ucdavis.edu
  • Allen Lowry, Sr. Project Manager, Architects & Engineers, (530) 757-3391, walowry@ucdavis.edu
  • Diane M. Barrett, Center for Excellence in Fruit & Vegetable Quality Director and Extension Specialist, Department of Food Science and Technology, (530) 752-2585, dmbarrett@ucdavis.edu
  • Melissa Haworth, Director of Major Gifts, CA&ES Dean's Office, (530) 754-8562, mdhaworth@ucdavis.edu
  • Darcie Bransford, Director of Major Gifts, CA&ES Dean's Office, (530) 752-1602, dmbransford@ucdavis.edu

 

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