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E-news #011: Summer 2007

Executive Director Message

By Clare M. Hasler


Eleven months and counting… It is hard to believe that in less than one year, faculty, staff and students from the departments of Viticulture and Enology, and Food Science and Technology will at long last be moving into the new academic building of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. The last construction milestone before the grand opening was celebrated on June 11 with the "Topping Out" – the placement of the final steel beam onto the top of the building. Photos of the event, including the signed beam, can be viewed in the story below. And if you drive to the top of the Mondavi Center parking lot, you can still see the beam, which is painted white and near the top (middle) of the building on the east side of the complex directly across the street. Hint: look for the American flag.

Although late June 2008 is the projected date for moving into the academic building, the formal dedication won't be held until the morning of Friday, October 10-Fall Festival weekend. This is particularly significant because the RMI grand opening will be one of the signature events to kick off the UC Davis Centennial celebration. The weekend will be filled with events, including the annual College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences "College Celebration" on Friday evening. Homecoming takes place the next day-the first homecoming game in the new Aggie Stadium! It will be a magnificent weekend to celebrate UC Davis with alumni, family, and friends… so mark your calendar.

Speaking of celebrations, the RMI will have another reason to celebrate during the centennial year: the groundbreaking for the teaching and research facilities associated with the departments of Viticulture and Enology, and Food Science and Technology. The fundraising campaigns for the Teaching and Research Winery and the Anheuser-Busch Brewing and Food Science Laboratory are wrapping up now and work is currently underway on a redesign of these two facilities with a design-build firm. We anticipate breaking ground in the summer of 2008 with completion 18 months later. By 2010 the Robert Mondavi Institute and its 12-acre vineyard will be the new "front door" of the UC Davis campus. That will be a reason to celebrate!

Clare's Signature

RMI Construction Update

By Allen Lowry, UC Davis Architects and Engineers

The Robert Mondavi complex continues to move ahead in construction faster than expected. At this rate, early move in activities can occur in late April, although most personnel moves are expected in July 2008. Full occupancy and commissioning of the project is confidently predicted for Fall Quarter 2008.

The three buildings are gradually reaching similar stages of completion. All concrete work is done (with the exception of landscape paving), all steel erection is complete, including minor accessories such as trellises, stairs and bridges, and the exterior plaster finish is beginning to appear on the North Lab and Sensory buildings. Interior systems are complete on the North Lab, which awaits interior drywall finishes and casework. Ceilings and lighting fixtures are projected for November-December of this year. It is now possible to see final colors on the windows facing the courtyard, and the on roof steel beams. There will be three plaster colors, used two per building.

Major utilities on site are complete, including steam, chilled water, and electricity. You will notice utility work in the street, being performed under a different contract called SEDU, which is placing piping to connect Mondavi to the Campus, under the adjacent streets. Traffic disruption south of the creek will continue into early Winter, when it will move La Rue Road north of the Creek.

Spring 2007 Lectureship

By Clare M. Hasler

Food Science & Technology Chair Charlie Bamforth, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. President Ken Grossman, Clare Hasler, Long Meadow Ranch general partner Ted Hall, and Viticulture and Enology Interim Chair Andy Waterhouse pose just after the lectureship.

The long-term sustainability of agriculture is currently a hot topic at many academic institutions around the globe, and in particular at UC Davis. It was fitting that agricultural sustainability was the theme during the RMI Spring Lectureship held on June 11, 2007 in the Studio Theater of the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Two industry executives shared their expertise related to incorporating sustainable practices into their respective businesses.

Ted Hall and Andy Waterhouse.

Ken Grossman, founder, owner, and president of the 7th largest brewing business in the United States-Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.-was the first speaker. Ken discussed “Sustainability Practices in the Brewing Industry.” Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is clearly an industry leader in demonstrating a commitment to sustainability. In 2005, the company installed four 250-kilowatt fuel cell units to supply electric power and heat to the brewery's production processes, making it one of the largest commercial fuel cell projects in the country. The brewery uses digester gases produced in the brewing process as the source of hydrogen to run their fuel cell system, which generates 100 percent of the brewery's baseload power requirements.

The company also has a wastewater treatment plant on site and has substantially reduced landfill and liquid discharges by recycling. Spent grains from the brewhouse are fed to beef cattle, the steaks from which are served in the restaurant within the brewery complex. Charlie Bamforth, chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology, who also introduced Ken, stated, "It's inspiring to observe what Ken Grossman has achieved up in Chico. Not only is the Sierra Nevada Brewery perhaps the most handsome in the world, it is also one of the most environmentally compelling."

Ken Grossman poses with Michael Poley of Anheuser-Busch, Charlie Bamforth, and Ken's daughter, Sierra Grossman.

The second speaker was Ted Hall, who is general partner of Long Meadow Ranch and president of the related Long Meadow Ranch Winery. Long Meadow Ranch produces award-winning ultra-premium wine and handcrafted extra virgin olive oil, as well as grass-fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables. Ted is a widely acknowledged expert and educator on organic and sustainable farming methods. He also serves on the Board of Visitors and Fellows of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. The motto of Long Meadow Ranch, "Excellence through Responsible Farming," is bolstered by the belief that world-class products can be produced using sustainable, organic farming methods. Long Meadow Ranch does not use herbicides or pesticides and its organic farming practices are certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers.

Ted provided a compelling discussion of “Organic Wine and Food Production: Sound Economics, Not Partisan Politics,” a subject he is extremely passionate about. Andy Waterhouse, interim chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology, who introduced Ted, had this to say about Ted's presentation, “Mr. Hall effectively demonstrated a positive, business-oriented, integrated approach to organic farming to improve quality while saving both costs and reducing energy and carbon inputs. I was impressed at how complex these systems are and how Mr. Hall's company has developed techniques to manage their growth.”

Topping Out

By Clare M. Hasler

Jacque Bartholomew (and many others) make their mark on the historic beam


Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef announces the grand opening on October 10, 2008

Nearly two years to the day after the Robert Mondavi Institute academic building broke ground, another major construction milestone was celebrated — the "Topping Out." This tradition has long been observed by iron workers when the final structural beam, which has been signed by workers, donors, and special guests, is hoisted onto a building, signaling that the project has reached its maximum height. The ceremony also recognizes the construction team and many individuals who made the project possible.

Following a luncheon in the Mondavi Center Rumsey Rancheria Grand Lobby, the Topping Out took place on the top (where else?) of the South Parking Structure. Guests added their signatures to the 15-foot-long steel beam that had already been signed by 300 workers.

The formal ceremony began with my welcome to the 65 guests who were trying to stay cool. At least it wasn't as hot as it was during the groundbreaking on June 15, 2005, when it was a balmy 107 degrees!

Margrit Biever Mondavi turns the beam into a work of art with her grapevine drawing.

Following my welcome, several dignitaries signed the steel beam, including Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, Dean Neal Van Alfen, food science and technology chair Charlie Bamforth, viticulture and enology interim chair Andy Waterhouse, project manager Allen Lowry, FlintoCo Construction Company representative David Parkes and Margrit Biever Mondavi. In her inimitable fashion, Margrit, who is an artist, sketched a cluster of grapes to accompany her signature.

When the signing party concluded, the truck carried the beam down through the parking garage and across the street to the construction site. During this time, additional remarks were provided by Chancellor Vanderhoef, Dean Van Alfen, and Margrit Biever Mondavi, who gave a short talk on "Davis and the Dream." Following Mrs. Mondavi's remarks, guests moved to the edge of the parking structure, with glasses of champagne in hand, to witness a large construction crane hoist the signed beam into place. The moment was commemorated with a toast in recognition of the hard work of the construction team and the generosity of the donors that made the day possible.

And a glorious day it was!

Attendees watch the beam get hoisted into place.
Glasses raised in a toast to the completion of the structural phase.
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean Neal Van Alfen toasts with Margrit Biever Mondavi on a job well done.
Andy Waterhouse, Margrit Biever Mondavi, Clare Hasler and Charlie Bamforth celebrate the milestone


Sierra Nevada Brewery Gives to Support New Brewing Laboratory

By Melissa Haworth


Ken Grossman's relationship with UC Davis stretches back more than 30 years to the time he was learning the craft of brewing and tapping into the expertise available through the Department of Food Science and Technology. As his Sierra Nevada Brewery has grown, Ken has remained a friend of UC Davis, lecturing frequently to undergraduates on brewing and supporting the brewing science program with generous annual gifts. In 2005, Ken was recognized for his longstanding commitment when he was honored with a College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences "Award of Distinction."

Now, through Sierra Nevada Brewery, Ken has made a $250,000 commitment to support construction of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing and Food Science Laboratory. His generosity will be recognized with the naming of the Brewing Science Laboratory in the new Academic Building in honor of Sierra Nevada Brewery. "Ken has been such a valuable partner of the brewing program," said brewing professor and department chair Charlie Bamforth. "This is truly a wonderful gift and it will be a privilege to work in the laboratory named in honor of the Sierra Nevada Brewery."

Tomato Processor Supports New Food Science Laboratory

By Melissa Haworth and Ann Filmer


For 50 years, UC Davis has had an extraordinary impact on the tomato industry, including the development of the mechanical harvester and the tomato varieties that go with it. More recent research focuses on the flavor, nutritional content, and quality of processed tomato products.

In the near future, pilot-scale research and teaching in food processing-including tomatoes-will take place in the new Anheuser-Busch Brewing and Food Science Laboratory at UC Davis.

Stuart Woolf understands the importance of this new state-of-the-art laboratory facility for the tomato industry and for all food processors. Under Woolf's leadership, Los Gatos Tomato Products has made a five-year $250,000 pledge to support construction of the food science laboratory.

"This gift is a turning point for our efforts," says Charlie Bamforth, chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis. "We are working with many individuals to build industry-wide support for the laboratory and having Los Gatos Tomato Products step forward with a commitment has helped us move the entire campaign forward."

While Woolf's gift will go to laying the "brick and mortar" foundation of the laboratory, he recognizes that it's the vital research and education that takes place inside the laboratory that is important. For him, this gift is an investment in research and development that will benefit the entire tomato processing industry. As he says, "No industry remains globally competitive without investments in research and development. I believe it is most efficient to invest in the world's leading food science research and teaching institution-located in our own backyard."

When complete, the Anheuser-Busch Brewing and Food Science Laboratory at UC Davis will be part of the new complex of facilities dedicated to the study of food and wine science. Already the academic buildings for the departments of Food Science and Technology, and Viticulture and Enology are under construction along with a sensory center and the offices for the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

The laboratory building will be privately funded through a $5 million gift from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation and the support of many other companies and individuals such as Los Gatos Tomato Products. If you are interested in supporting the laboratory project, contact Melissa Haworth at or (530) 754-8562.

RMI Grand Opening - Save the Date

The date is official. We will be dedicating the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science on the morning of Friday, October 10, 2008. Planning for the event is currently underway, so mark your calendars and stay tuned to the RMI Web site for more information.

Dave Block Honored


David Block, an associate professor in the departments of Viticulture and Enology, and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, recently received the 2006-2007 Chemical Engineering Excellence Award in Academic Teaching from the Northern California Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Block teaches courses in wine technology, industrial fermentation processes, and design of biotechnology manufacturing facilities.

For full story, see

Welcome Kathy Barrientes


The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce that Kathy Barrientes has been selected as a new Director of Major Gifts with responsibility for the Department of Viticulture and Enology and the Teaching and Research Winery among other departments and centers. Kathy's first day with the college was July 9. She came to CA&ES from the College of Biological Sciences, where she served as Director of Major Gifts since 2005. Prior to that position, she was executive assistant to the chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology. Kathy is an alumna of UC Davis and has completed a highly regarded certificate program in fundraising management through the Indiana School of Philanthropy.

Kathy can be reached at or (530) 752-1602.

Upcoming Events

Competitive Forces Affecting the Wine and Winegrape Industries: The International Conference on World Wine Markets

August 8-10, 2007
Memorial Union, UC Davis
More information:

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UC Davis Extension Offers Two Food and Wine Travel Programs




Food, Wine and Culture of Tuscany
October 17-28, 2007

With The Culinary Institute of Florence (Apicius) as your host and its knowledgeable instructors as your tour guides, discover and taste the great food and wine of Italy. Tuscany and Umbria are the regional foci of your trip.


Sicily, Crossroads of the Mediterranean: From the Greeks to Modern Italians (Myth, Food and Culture)
May 11-22, 2008

Through lectures, discussions and field trips, participants will explore the country that has so captivated people for centuries. This cultural tour of Sicily will focus on the art, history, cuisine and current issues of this fascinating region. More information:

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Women in Wine: Leading Women in the Wine Industry

Panel Discussion and Guided Wine Tasting
Mondavi Center Studio Theatre
Wednesday, April 30, 2008 4-7 p.m.

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