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E-news #024: Fall 2010

In this Issue


Executive Director's Update

Clare M. Hasler-Lewis


Is it possible that another holiday season is already upon us? The fall quarter has been a whirlwind of activity—much of which has centered on the new winery, brewery and food processing facility, which is officially open (see story below). The Department of Viticulture and Enology had its first crush in the world's most technologically advanced winery. And in September, August A. Busch, III was able to see firsthand the brewery that bears his name. The Department of Food Science and Technology is continuing to install equipment and will be fully operational in early 2011. This LEED Platinum facility, which was entirely supported by the generous philanthropy of more than 150 donors, will celebrate its public grand opening on January 28, 2011.

Philanthropy has made the vision of state-of-the-art facilities a reality. Philanthropy will also help the Robert Mondavi Institute achieve a new level of excellence in its outreach programs. Doug and Juli Muhleman have responded to Dean Neal Van Alfen's challenge to match $1 million in support for the RMI with their generous gift of $100,000. Thank you Doug and Juli for putting us on the path to meet our $1 million goal! A fully funded endowment will enable us to continue to host the type of excellent outreach activities highlighted in this issue of the E-news.

Join the challenge! Become a friend of the RMI and help us achieve a new level of excellence in our wine, brewing and food sciences programs. See our online giving information at

I wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and hope to see you at the grand opening celebration in January.





UC Davis Launches World's 'Greenest' Winery, Brewery and Foods Facility

(Adapted from an October 5, 2010, press release by Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service)

Students work on the fall crush in the new winery, brewery and food-processing complex. Photo by: Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo

A newly completed winery, brewery and food-processing complex at the University of California, Davis, is set to begin operations as the most environmentally sophisticated complex of its kind in the world, one that promises to unravel scientific enigmas and solve practical problems related to foods, beverages and health.

The $20 million, 34,000-square-foot teaching-and-research complex is expected to be the first winery, brewery or food-processing facility to earn LEED Platinum certification, the highest environmental rating awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) It is intended to become self-sustainable in energy and water use after all of its features come online.

"This new complex showcases UC Davis' commitment to environmental excellence," said Chancellor Linda Katehi. "It embodies our vision to serve as a catalyst for sustainable economic development and social progress in California and beyond."

Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, added, "The new facility raises the bar for environmental design and construction of laboratory and processing buildings within the University of California.

"It also will serve as a model for industries throughout the nation that are also committed both to environmental excellence and production efficiency," he said.
The south wing of the new one-story complex is home to the August A, Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory, which includes, a brewery, general foods-processing plant and milk-processing laboratory. The complex's north wing houses a new teaching-and-research winery. Construction was completed in July.

The complex was designed and built to be UC Davis' second LEED Platinum building and only the third in the University of California system. The other two are UC Davis' Tahoe Center for the Environmental Sciences in Incline Village, Nev., and UC Santa Barbara's Bren Hall.

The new complex was funded entirely by private donations; no state or federal funds were used in its design or construction.

It was designed by a team of architects, engineers and builders including BNB Norcal of San Mateo, Flad Architects of San Francisco, F.M. Booth Mechanical, Red Top Electric, KPW Structural Engineers, Creegan + D'Angelo Civil Engineers and HLA Landscape Architects.

The complex is adjacent to a new 12-acre teaching-and-research vineyard and is located within the campus's Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

The institute, which opened in 2008, comprises three academic buildings that house the Department of Food Science and Technology and the Department of Viticulture and Enology. (Design and construction of those academic buildings, which total 129,600 square feet, cost $73 million, paid for by a combination of state and private funds. The campus did not apply for LEED certification on the three academic buildings.)

LEED Platinum environmental design

The new winery, brewery and food-processing complex was designed to serve as a test bed for production processes and techniques that conserve water, energy and other vital resources.

Its environmentally friendly features include onsite solar power generation and a large-capacity system for capturing rainwater and conserving processing water. The stored rainwater will be used for landscaping and toilets, per LEED specifications.

UC Davis is raising funds to complete an auxiliary building to house equipment that will make it possible to capture, store and recycle rainwater, which will be used in an automated system to clean barrels, tanks and fermenters. The proposed system would reuse 90 percent of the captured rainwater volume.

"We want to demonstrate a self-sufficiency model that is applicable to any business with limited water," said Roger Boulton, a winery-engineering expert and the Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology at UC Davis. He noted that plans call for eventually operating the facility independent of the main campus water line.

Additionally, the winery has been designed to capture carbon dioxide, a natural byproduct of fermentation, from a port in each of the new fermenters. An innovative process will be used to remove the carbon dioxide from the winery, reducing the building's energy requirements for air quality and temperature control. Plans call for eventually capturing and storing the carbon dioxide produced by the winery, so that it will not contribute to global warming.

"The goal is for the facility to be not just carbon neutral, but carbon zero, in terms of its carbon emissions," Boulton said.

Other environmentally responsible features include maximum use of natural light, rooftop photovoltaic cells to provide all of the facility's power at peak load, new food-processing equipment that minimizes energy and water requirements, use of recycled glass in the flooring, interior paneling recycled from a 1928 wooden aqueduct, and use of lumber harvested from sustainably certified forest operations.

High-tech processing systems

A technological capstone for the facility will be the world's first wireless wine-fermentation system, a $1 million assembly of 152 wireless grape fermenters, designed, fabricated and donated by a team of research engineers led by T.J. Rodgers, founder, president and chief executive officer of San Jose, Calif.-based Cypress Semiconductor.

Each of the 200-liter, electro-polished, stainless steel fermenters is individually equipped for automated control of temperature and the "pump-over" process, controlling two of the most important factors in determining final wine characteristics and quality.

Additionally, newly designed fermenter sensors frequently and precisely extract and transmit sugar-concentration data from white and red fermentations across a wireless network. Data from the sensors can be generated every 15 minutes with a precision of 0.25 Brix, a measure of sugar content.


When completed, the winery is expected to contain one of the largest wireless networks in any fermentation facility in the world.

Meanwhile, the new brewery will provide a showcase for the latest in brewing technology, as well as a sophisticated laboratory for conducting research and training students in the science of brewing.

It also is intended to provide commercial brewers and suppliers with a small-scale facility in which they can test new recipes or processes.

Good enough to eat

The general foods- and milk-processing laboratories have been designed and built to meet state and federal food- and dairy-grade standards, meaning that the products processed there are fit for human consumption during sensory and nutritional evaluations.

The food-processing pilot plant will facilitate research on a variety of topics including alternative food-processing methods and their nutritional effects; nutritional quality and shelf life of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables; nutritional enhancements from food-processing "waste" products; and improved food formulations.

The milk-processing laboratory will support research in a variety of areas including separation of milk components into functional ingredients, processing of milk that has been modified by the type of feed provided to the cows, and processing of milk from cows that were bred for specific characteristics.


Individual donors make vision a reality

Dozens of private donors contributed funds to make the new complex a reality, beginning with a $5 million contribution in 2001 from the late winemaker, Robert Mondavi.

Other major donations were made by Ronald and Diane Miller and by a group of winery partners led by Jess Jackson and his wife Barbara Banke of Kendall-Jackson Wines, and Jerry Lohr of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines. That group of winery partners secured the funds necessary to design and construct the facility to LEED Platinum standards.

California tomato processors and growers also came together to contribute more than $2.5 million to the food-processing pilot plant, recognizing the important role that the Department of Food Science and Technology has played in the industry and the future potential for training students and conducting research at the new complex. The Woodland, Calif.-based Morning Star Packing Company provided a lead gift of $1 million for the food-processing plant.

In all, more than 150 individuals, alumni, corporations and foundations contributed funds to make the new winery, brewery and food-processing complex a reality. These included major contributions from the Department of Viticulture and Enology's Board of Visitors and Fellows.

About the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology

Established in 1880 by California legislative mandate, the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology has been at the forefront of international grape and wine innovation for 130 years. The department partners with the California grape and wine industry through research, public service and equipping students with both scientific knowledge and practical skills.
The department includes 14 faculty members and enrolls 100 undergraduate students and 40 graduate students.

More information about the department and the new winery is available online at:

About the Department of Food Science and Technology

The Department of Food Science and Technology represents one of the oldest disciplines at UC Davis, evolving from studies in winemaking and dairy food production at UC Berkeley in the early 1900s. The current department is home to 200 undergraduate students and approximately 50 graduate students. The majority of the graduates from this program are now working in the food industry or related industries in California and elsewhere.

The department has 25 faculty members who are involved in international collaborations in 20 nations throughout the world. Its historical strengths are in engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, microbiology, food safety, and sensory and consumer sciences.

It is developing new areas of specialty focused on foods for health; food and culture; the relationship between food-borne diseases and the environment; and the processing of food products at the microscopic level, using techniques known as microencapsulation and nanoencapsulation.


Institute Receives $100,000 Endowment Gift

By Clare M. Hasler-Lewis

Robert Mondavi’s vision was to provide UC Davis a prestigious forum for collaboration between the Department of Viticulture and Enology (VEN) and the Department of Food Science and Technology (FST). As the outreach arm for VEN and FST, the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science fulfills this vision. The institute connects these renowned academic departments with industry, regulatory agencies and the public through conferences, lectures and workshops.

From left, Doug Muhleman, Juli Muhleman, Neal Van Alfen, Pam Kazmierczak, August Busch III, Ginny Busch, Steven Busch

An endowment for the Robert Mondavi Institute was established in 2008 upon the passing of Robert Mondavi to honor his legacy. In 2009 the dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Neal Van Alfen, challenged donors to support the endowment by providing $1 million in matching funds.

I am very pleased to announce the first significant major gift to the endowment. Doug and Juli Muhleman have generously contributed $100,000 to launch the campaign to support RMI programs in perpetuity. Doug is a UC Davis graduate who retired from Anheuser-Busch in 2008 after a long career with the company, most recently as Group Vice President of Brewing, Operations and Technology. Doug serves on the UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees. He and Juli are longtime supporters of UC Davis, most notably the brewing science program. Both of Doug and Juli’s children are UC Davis graduates.

Consistent endowment support will allow the institute to shift its focus from fundraising for basic operational needs to highlighting the excellence of UC Davis, FST and VEN. It will also enable us to host more-frequent outreach events which will engage both industry partners interested in research collaborations and individual donors and alumni who wish to support the departments through scholarships, endowed chairs and other support.

Many thanks to Doug and Juli!

For more information about giving to the RMI Endowment and matching challenge, please contact Kathy Barrientes, Director of Major Gifts, (530) 752-1602,


Institute Establishes Memorial Office as a Tribute to Robert Mondavi

By Clare M. Hasler-Lewis


The late Robert G. Mondavi, who died in 2008, was a pioneer and patriarch of the California wine


industry, and an ardent and generous supporter of UC Davis. His generosity enabled the university to establish The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. We are very fortunate that the Mondavi family has agreed to lend select items of Mr. Mondavi’s personal memorabilia to the institute for public display and enjoyment. They are being housed in Room 1025, Sensory Building, next to my office. Items include Mr. Mondavi’s desk and credenza that were in his office at the Robert Mondavi Winery for several decades, as well as various awards, photos, plaques and paintings. Please feel free to stop by during office hours to view these items.


Olive Center Develops President's Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil

(Adapted from an October 12, 2010, press release by Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service)

From left, President Mark Yudof, Dan Flynn

This fall the UC Davis Olive Center is gearing up to produce the first ever President’s Blend extra virgin olive oil. At the suggestion of Chancellor Katehi, the idea for this new olive oil was broadly embraced all the way to the top, culminating in a visit to Davis from UC President Mark Yudof and his executive staff on September 30.

During the visit, President Yudof toured the new Teaching and Research Winery and the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory at the Robert Mondavi Institute. He also had the opportunity to taste olive oil directly from a mobile mill that was at the institute for the Master Millers Course. Following a tour, Yudof and members of his staff were instructed by food science and technology professor Jean-Xavier Guinard on what constitutes a good flavor profile in olive oil. The positive flavor attributes that one should look for are fruitiness, bitterness and pungency. The distinguished group of tasters started with a few mild blends and worked their way up to more robust oils (five blends total). President Yudof then put his stamp of approval on the blend that will eventually carry the seal of the University of California; he also chose one of three labels that were prepared for the new blend.

This olive harvest season, the UC Davis Olive Center will work with California producers to create this special blend of Spanish and Italian varietals to be labeled the President’s Blend. Following the flavor profile favored by President Yudof, this extra virgin olive oil will be medium to robust intensity with a nice balance of nutty and pungent characteristics and not too much bitterness. President Yudof and his wife have already requested several cases of this new oil to use as gifts.

Extra virgin olive oil makes a wonderful gift and the President’s Blend is even more special because of its UC connection. Kiley Athanasiou, assistant director of the Olive Center states, “Our hope is that the President’s Blend olive oil will be sold at all ten UC campuses so that people all over the state of California will have access to a truly outstanding extra virgin olive oil.”


Robert Mondavi Institute and Mondavi Center Partner in Monthly "Uncorked" Events

By Don Roth


Robert and Margrit Mondavi’s generosity helped to make both the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and the Robert Mondavi Institute a reality. The Mondavi’s’ philanthropy was grounded in their sense that great art and great food and wine complement each other, as part of a life well-lived. The new RMI/MC partnership—“Uncorked”—is based on that same set of values.

Each month, from now through April, 2011, the Robert Mondavi Institute will select a winemaker for a special complimentary pouring in the Mondavi Center’s Bartholomew Room before selected Mondavi Center presentations. It is our hope that “Uncorked” will provide winemakers, the Robert Mondavi Institute, and the Mondavi Center an opportunity to enlighten a wider audience about their important work.

Genvieve Janssens, Director of Winemaking for Robert Mondavi Winery

The inaugural Uncorked event on September 30 featured Robert Mondavi Wines.  Genevieve Janssens, director of winemaking for Robert Mondavi Winery since 1997, poured wines and discussed her winemaking philosophy.  Genvieve was recently named 2010 Wine Star Winemaker of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The Wine Star awards recognize excellence in the wine and spirits industry, with a special emphasis on achievements made over the past year. Janssens will be honored, at the annual Wine Star Awards gala dinner on Monday, January 24, 2011 at the New York Public Library in New York City.

Donors to the Robert Mondavi Institute who wish to attend an Uncorked event should contact Kim Bannister,, for more information.

Upcoming Uncorked Event Dates:


Olive Center Hosts Annual Master Millers Short Course

By Nicole Sturzenberger


As the weather changes from summer to fall and the olives begin to ripen, the UC Davis Olive Center holds its annual Master Millers Short Course. For the first time the center presented the course at the Robert Mondavi Institute, using the sensory theater for lectures and a mobile mill next to the institute for practical experience.

Course participants came from various parts of California, Europe, and South America to learn about one of the most important aspects of this growing industry. Pablo Canamasas of Australia’s largest olive oil producer, Boundary Bend Limited, flew to California specifically to teach the course. Canamasas brought a practical experience to the table, acting as the oil production technical manager of the company, which also produces Cobram Estate olive oil.

The three-day course offered an introduction day for those interested in purchasing a mill or those who desired a working knowledge of the process, with a lecture focusing on the specific permits needed for installing a mill. The final two days offered an in-depth look into maximizing oil extraction during production while minimizing costs. Throughout all three days the mill was running, giving participants the chance to taste new oil and see the differences between various production techniques in real time.

The Olive Center hopes to hold the Master Millers Short Course again in fall 2011.


Diana Kennedy Lectures on Her New Book

By Eric Schroeder


On October 28, Diana Kennedy, considered by many to be the most knowledgeable English-speaking person on Mexican cuisine, spoke to a standing-room-only audience in the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre at the Robert Mondavi Institute. The occasion of Kennedy’s visit was the release of her latest book, Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy.

Kennedy was introduced by Darrell Corti, of Corti Brothers in Sacramento, and her friend and former student Peg Tomlinson-Poswall. During her presentation, which she illustrated with pictures from the book, Kennedy touched upon a wide range of topics, from the uniqueness of many ingredients in her recipes and the need to preserve rare plant species listed in the recipes, to the use of particular techniques and tools in the recipes.

The talk was followed by a lively question and answer session and then a short tribute to Ms. Kennedy by Kurt Spataro, owner and chef at Centro Cocina Mexicana in Sacramento and a former student of Kennedy. Spataro noted the richness of Oaxaca al Gusto, and he read two passages from the book that had the audience laughing. The event concluded with a reception that was catered by Spataro, featuring Kennedy’s recipes for hors d’oeuvres which were paired with wines from Ceja Vineyards and Mi Sueño Winery and mescal from Del Maguey. While guests enjoyed the food and drinks, Ms. Kennedy graciously signed copies of both her new book and three of her classic titles.


Cafe Americain Hosts First Annual Art of Food and Wine Event

By Mike Wahba


The first celebration of “The Art of Food and Wine,” a collaboration between the Robert Mondavi Institute, Sacramento Opera, Sterling Caviar, and Café Americain—a new champagne and caviar house in Old Town Sacramento (1023 Front Street)—was celebrated in October. The event was held in Governor Booth’s historic mansion which houses the new “Crescent Club.”

The event was emceed by NPR’s Matias Bombal and included performances by Sacramento Opera’s soprano Carrie Hennessey, Prohibition-era entertainment by the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, vodka and caviar pairings led by Mr. Darrell Corti, and a slow foods dinner prepared by executive chef Natalya Wahba.

It also marked the inaugural meeting of the new “Caviar Club,” a collaboration of Sterling Caviar, the Robert Mondavi Institute, Sacramento Opera, Darrel Corti, and Café Americain. “This was an absolutely amazing event,” said Dr. Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director of the RMI. “The food was sublime and the music was fantastic! We are looking forward to next year’s second annual celebration.”


Owner of Clos Pegase Winery Lectures on Wine and Art through the Ages

By Clare M. Hasler-Lewis and Kathy Barrientes

From left, Jeff Ruda, professor of art history, Jan Shrem, and Dave Block, vice chair, Department of Viticulture and Enology

In November, Jan Shrem, owner of Clos Pegase Winery in Calistoga, Calif. ( presented a very interesting, vibrant and humorous presentation at the Robert Mondavi Institute entitled, “Bacchus the Rascal: A Bacchanalian History of Wine Seen through 4,000 Years of Art”.

In homage to the age-old intertwining of wine and art, Mr. Shrem created this presentation as a survey of wine’s ancient sources and the art it has inspired. The result of a quarter of a century of research, it begins with the birth of the grape and the origin of wine as illustrated in Egyptian tomb paintings and Roman mosaics. Shrem shared his collection of over 100 wine-related images from such artists as Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Dali, Picasso, and Chagall, finishing with a contemporary homage to wine. Shrem also shared pictures of his personal art collection displayed at Clos Pegase that includes some of the world's greatest twentieth-century works of art.

The National Press named Clos Pegase as "a place of pilgrimage" and "America's first monument to wine and art."  Mr. Shrem invited and encouraged all in attendance to come and experience his temple to the art of winemaking and fine art.

Attendees enjoyed a glass of 2008 Sauvignon Blanc during the lecture followed by a reception in the lobby of the Sensory Building featuring several additional Clos Pegase wines. A fabulous four-course wine pairing of Clos Pegase Estate wines with dinner in the private dining room at Season’s restaurant in Davis followed the lecture for those who chose to attend.


Are Wine Boom Bust Cycles Inevitable?

By Jon Tourney

From left, Richard Howitt, Peter Hayes, Daniel Sumner

A mini-symposium presented by the Robert Mondavi Institute's Center for Wine Economics at the University of California, Davis in October examined boom and bust cycles in the world wine industry and addressed emerging opportunities and challenges. Themes of the event, which featured three speakers and audience participation, included the need for longer-term planning and research for better decision-making by industry executives, and larger, industry-wide concerns such as supply and demand, climate change, and resource and water issues.

Peter Hayes provided global perspective from his position as vice president and past president of the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), and perspective as a native Australian who has been a viticulturist for both Rosemount Estates and Southcorp, involved with Australian wine industry research. UC Davis agricultural economists Daniel Sumner and Richard Howitt focused more locally on California resource issues.

Hayes has witnessed first-hand extremes of the Australian wine industry that have included a 12-year boom of constant growth and more recently, a bust since 2007 with a decline in the value of exports that is approaching U.S. $1 billion over the past three years. Hayes said, "Some of our boom and bust cycles very much arise from the failure of people to account for unintended consequences."

Speaking to an audience that included researchers, economists and wine industry business managers, he discussed the need for better cooperation between the research community and industry executive management, to look at larger and long-term issues and trends affecting the wine industry. He observed, "Research and development is generally not called upon until it's too late, and it's used more as a corrective response, rather than as part of a strategic plan."

Sumner, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, also served as assistant secretary for economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the early 1990s. Looking at the agriculture industry as a whole, he showed that grapes and wine are still doing well compared with other agricultural crops and commodities in California and throughout the U.S.

All three speakers discussed water as a resource issue, and as a current and future challenge. "We will find increasing pressure to justify why we're using water for producing wine," Hayes said, alluding to the fact that most people do not consider wine a necessity.

Howitt, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, specializes in agricultural water issues and is a member of the Watershed Center's Delta Solutions Group. He discussed resource constraints on wine production in California related to future water supplies and climate change. He said California growers will face increased water scarcity costs from urban and environmental competition and due to climate change.

He cited climate change predictions for California that will result in a 3-percent increase in temperature and a 6-percent reduction in yields by the year 2100. Based on trends in water runoff, storage and delivery in California, Howitt predicted, "Agriculture will have to get by on 20 percent less water in the future." He concluded, "The scarcity-value of water will increase rapidly over the next 20 to 30 years."

To read the full story, see:


Agustin Hunees, Vintner and Robert Mondavi Institute Honorary Board Member, Honored by Chilean President Sebastian Pinera

By Kathy Barrientes

From left, President Sebastian Pinera, Agustin Huneeus

Agustin Huneeus, owner of the Quintessa Estate in Napa Valley and RMI honorary board member, received the highest civilian honor from Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in a ceremony in Los Angeles in September. Huneeus received a medal and the title of “Grand Official” for meritorious service to the Republic of Chile, recognizing his efforts to promote Chile and its wine industry on an international level.

A native of Chile and owner of Veramonte Winery in Chile’s Casablanca Valley, Huneeus has been tireless in promoting and developing the wine regions of Chile around the globe, helping to make Chile one of the top winemaking regions in the world recognized for both its quality and value. Additionally, he has fostered relationships between Chile and California that encourage educational and civil partnerships abroad.

As a member of the board of Plan Chile-California, Huneeus led a Chilean mission to California in April 2009 and again in September 2010. He led an exchange that named Napa, California and Casablanca, Chile as sister cities in 2002 and co-organized a seminar in March 2010 in which officials from the municipalities of both cities met and exchanged ideas regarding their respective agricultural regions. He also facilitated the development of “Human Capital” in the Republic of Chile by creating valuable support networks for Chileans studying abroad in California. In May, he organized “California Abrazo Chile,” an event to raise awareness and provide relief funds for victims of a massive earthquake that struck the country in February, raising over $300,000 dollars with gracious contributions from vintners and Bay Area philanthropists.

Agustin’s career in wine has spanned 50 years and 15 countries. Today, his family-owned portfolio of fine wines includes Veramonte Winery in Chile, the Quintessa Estate in Napa Valley, Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Illumination Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Flowers Vineyards and Winery on the extreme Sonoma coast, and The Prisoner and Saldo wines produced in partnership with Orin Swift Cellars. He is also a partner in Washington’s Long Shadows Vintners. In 1996, he was the recipient of Wine Spectator’s Distinguished Service Award for his significant and long-lasting contributions to the wine industry.


CAST Board Members Experience the Flavors of California at the Robert Mondavi Institute

By Linda M. Chimenti

In early October, members of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) board of directors, board of representatives, and staff gathered in Sacramento for their annual meeting. The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology is a nonprofit organization that assembles and communicates credible science-based information about agriculture, food, and the environment. CAST members were pleased to be invited to tour the new viticulture, brewery and food processing facilities at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science on the UC Davis campus.


Dr. Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director of RMI, hosted the 40-person CAST group and provided an informative overview of the RMI history and mission, as well as food and agriculture programs at UC Davis.

Professor Roger Boulton, Department of Viticulture and Enology, led a tour of the Fermentation Hall in the Teaching and Research Winery, noting that the building has been built to Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. He described how some of the new state-of-the-art equipment will give students the capability to produce and test both red and white wines.

Dr. James Seiber, chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology, led CAST guests through the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory. He explained that the fully operating brewery will allow both sensory and nutrition trials and said that with approximately 250 students, this undergraduate food science program is the largest in the nation.

Following the tour, CAST guests were treated to a sampling of wines from the C.G. Di Arie Vineyard and Winery, poured by winemaker Chaim Gur-Arieh. Craig McMurray, managing director at Capital Public Radio, then introduced the program of speakers who shared information and insights about California agriculture with the CAST scientists.


Tim Johnson, president and CEO of the California Rice Commission, described how the rice industry has transformed itself from a pollution source that was disliked by many local residents to a crop that provides refuge for birds and waterfowl. California rice fields now provide 57 percent of the food for ducks and geese in migratory flyways, and rice is known locally as “the environmental crop.”

Jim Burke, product manager of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, reported that California is the U.S. leader in use of solar energy. He said that programs such as SolarShares and the Million Solar Roof Initiative have already been successful in changing access to energy and are continuing to grow.

Dan Flynn, executive director of the UC Davis Olive Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute, amused the audience as he described how the center arose from the need to deal with slippery olives falling on campus paths and causing accidents. The center has become a collection of 30 people who conduct research and provide education about olive production and processing. To emphasize his point about the importance of freshness in olive oil, Flynn conducted a “taste testing” that allowed CAST guests the opportunity to sample and compare the flavors of a European oil and the center’s oil. (The Olive Center’s sample was the overwhelming favorite!)

CAST board members are scientists representing 23 professional agriculture-related societies, as well as nearly a dozen nonprofit organizations and commercial companies. The interactions during the event at UC Davis gave the CAST participants an opportunity to learn more about California agriculture as well as to share their own experiences and insights with the faculty and speakers. The evening was a highly successful part of the CAST board meeting.


Roger Boulton honored at the College Celebration

By Clare M. Hasler-Lewis


Dr. Roger Boulton, Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology, was honored with an Award of Distinction as "Outstanding Faculty" from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences during the 22nd annual College Celebration in October 8. The Award of Distinction is the highest recognition awarded by the college.

Boulton has a joint appointment in the Department of Viticulture and Enology and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at UC Davis. He joined the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis in 1976.

Boulton is well known for his unequalled expertise in the physical and chemical stability of wines, wine color and copigmentation, process equipment and winery design, with his production of distilled spirits being legend. Boulton was instrumental in procuring the funding and in the design and construction of the new state-of-the art LEED Platinum Teaching and Research Winery at the Robert Mondavi Institute. The completion of this teaching winery signals a new era of cooperation with the international wine industry, as UC Davis now has a facility that represents the ultimate goal in sustainable practices. As such, many new partnerships in research and outreach will become a reality. This is thanks, in great part, to the persistence and expertise of Dr. Roger Boulton. Boulton was named among "the 50 most influential people in the U.S. Wine Industry" by Wines and Vines Magazine.


Jean-Xavier Guinard Appointed Associated Vice Provost and Executive Director of the UC Education Abroad Program

By Lawrence Pitts


After an international search, Professor Jean-Xavier Guinard has been appointed the new associate vice provost and executive director for the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP). The post became effective October 1, 2010.

Guinard will manage the systemwide study abroad program of the University of California based in Goleta, California, with responsibility for all UC EAP programming, operations, faculty and staff in Goleta and overseas.

Since 1962, the UC EAP has been the systemwide international exchange program. Serving all ten campuses, EAP supports the mission of the University of California through instructional activities and exchange relationships around the world. Currently, EAP operates in 30 countries with nearly 250 program options that provide diverse learning opportunities and partner with top-ranked universities, institutes, and faculty around the globe.

Guinard comes to UC EAP from UC Davis, where he has served for the past three years as associate vice provost for International Programs and since 1994 as a professor of sensory science in the Department of Food Science and Technology. He brings an understanding of and a profound commitment to education abroad at both systemwide and campus levels, as well as demonstrated programmatic and administrative leadership.

During his tenure at UC Davis, Guinard served as the UC Davis representative on the University Committee on International Education (UCIE) and as interim director of the UC Davis Quarter Abroad Program. He was a member of the joint UOIP and Academic Senate Task Force on Internationalizing the Curriculum, and co-chaired the joint UOEAP and Academic Senate Task Force on EAP Study Centers. In 2005 and 2006, he served as Study Center Director of the University of California’s EAP in Madrid, Spain.

Guinard graduated from Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Agronomie et des Industries Alimentaires, Nancy, France and holds degrees from the School of Law and Economics, University of Nancy, France and University of Paris VI, Paris, France. He earned an M.S. degree in food science/enology and a Ph.D. degree in microbiology from UC Davis. Guinard’s research and teaching focus on sensory and consumer science.


Olive Center Releases New Body Care Products

By Kiley Athanasiou


“The Sustainable 2nd Century celebrates UC Davis’ long-term commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability. We use our strengths in teaching, research and public service to address society’s most pressing problems. Ideas that start on our campus — powered by faculty, students and staff — transform the world.” UC Davis Sustainable 2nd Century.


The UC Davis Olive Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute is doing its share in creating a sustainable future for olive oil production from the UC Davis campus. Waste management has and continues to be an area of great interest in the production of olive oil. The by-products and pomace oil which are not fit for human consumption can be recycled and used in a variety of different ways.

This fall the Olive Center teamed up with a UC Davis alumna to produce the first-ever line of UC Davis olive oil body care products. These products utilize the oil that is not bottled and sold as extra virgin olive oil. There are four luxury products, all using 100 percent UC Davis olive oil, which are for sale at the campus bookstore. These include an 8 oz container of “sweetgrass” perfumed olive oil body butter, an 8 oz bottle of “sweet orange” olive oil body lotion, a peppermint-flavored lip balm, and a “sweetgrass” olive oil bar soap.

The quick absorption and silky smooth feel of the body butter and lotion are sure to be a bit hit with buyers. Kiley Athanasiou, assistant director of the Olive Center commented, “We are very excited about this new product line for the Olive Center because we feel that it will be a perfect fit for college co-eds looking for fun, inexpensive gift ideas.” But these great products aren’t just for students. They are a wonderful complement to the UC Davis olive oil products and are perfect for consumers of all ages. Athanasiou adds, “We hope that departments will order these products by the case to use for conference giveaways and gifts.”


New Book by Carolyn de la Pena Reviewed by The New Yorker

(Adapted from an August 31, 2010, The New Yorker article by Eileen Reynolds)


It’s hard to imagine sitting down at a café table and not seeing that cheerful array of pastel paper packets: pink, blue, yellow—a sweetener for each color of the rainbow. Perhaps you have one friend who bakes with Splenda, another who sucks down Diet Cokes all day long, and a third who reaches for the Sweet'N Low simply—she says—because it dissolves easily in iced tea. Where do these loyalties come from, and who is right? Can artificial sweeteners really help you lose weight? Do they, as some people claim, cause cancer and other medical problems? Are we better off with sugar, after all? I recently caught up with Carolyn de la Peña, a professor of American Studies at the University of California, Davis and the author of the fascinating book "Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda," to get her take on our national obsession with sweet.

Ask_an_academic_2Why sweeteners?

I grew up in the 1980s in a house with a lot of substitutes. We had Egg Beaters, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, No Salt, Crystal Light and Diet Pepsi. I wanted to know where these products came from, and how people like my mom—who was always watching her weight—had come to think of them as healthy options. And of course what impact this way of eating, which was entirely new really, has had on us as Americans.

What role did early sweeteners play in the culture of dieting?

You would think that when people substituted artificial sweeteners for sugar they did it primarily to cut calories. But that’s only part of the story. Several years ago I started collecting saccharin containers on eBay. Sold as early as the nineteen-fifties, these pretty little decorative cases (sometimes in animal shapes, typically jeweled) were a popular hostess gift of the post-war era. Yet why would a guest arrive with a gift that could only be interpreted as an invitation for the host to lose weight? The more I looked into the history of these objects, and artificial sweetener in this early era, the clearer it was that cutting calories was not the only attraction. During the war, sweeteners stood in for unavailable or rationed sugar.

Women weren’t just consuming sweeteners; they were also marketing and selling them. Do you think this influence was the key to making the sweeteners popular to female consumers?

Absolutely. Tillie Lewis was a Stockton-based canner and founder of the 1950’S Tasti-Diet line of food, and Jean Nidetch founded Weight Watchers. Along with countless women’s page recipe promoters and advertising copy writers, they fundamentally changed the meaning of “diet” between the early fifties and the seventies.

I’m fascinated by your section on the “saccharin rebellion” of the nineteen-seventies. What does it mean to be able to “pick your poison,” and what does the government have to do with it?

The most surprising thing I found while doing this research was how millions of Americans fought their government in order to keep saccharin-sweetened products on the market in 1977. One veteran congresswoman said it was the single-most protested issue in her decades-long career in congress, a career that spanned the Civil Rights legislation, Vietnam conflict, and Watergate.

How will a backlash against high-fructose corn syrup figure into the ongoing battle between different artificial sweeteners and table sugar?

It’s interesting that while sugar industry research was showing that artificial sweeteners were bad (and vice versa), and artificial-sweetener brands were suing one another over which one was more natural, and the government was publicizing the carcinogenic risks of vast amounts of sweetener ingestion, corn syrup silently entered most facets of the American food supply. Today, corn syrup adds back the calories that we remove through our zero-calorie sodas and “diet” desserts.

Has your research caused you to change your own eating habits? What do you take in your coffee?

The biggest change in my eating patterns is that I’m eating less—and going to the gym less. I saw a similarity between “diet sweets”—and their promises that you could consume all the time without consequence—and my own habit of burning two hundred calories on a machine before breakfast. If I’m paying for a membership so I can burn off calories from eating more food than I need, that’s probably great for the gyms and food companies, but maybe not for me. It’s been nice to slow down and take a walk, off the treadmill.

With coffee my tastes are unchanged: strong with half and half. Some things should not be sweet!

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In Brief

CA&ES Online Giving

Supporters of the RMI can now give conveniently and securely online. To make a gift of any size go to: For more information about our Friends of the RMI program for donors who give at the $1,000 per year level, please visit: Thank you to all who make gifts to support the activities of the institute.

UC Libraries Mass Digitization Program Celebrates 3 Millionth Volume

On October 27, 2010, the California Digital Library announced the completion of the 3,000,000th digitized book from the collections of the University of California Libraries. Each campus chose a book to highlight from the digitized collections. For UC Davis, the first in the Robert Mondavi Institute’s historic agricultural books, The Wine Press and the Cellar, was selected to honor UC Davis roots in agriculture, especially the viticulture and enology fields.

Many thanks to Daryl Morrison and John Skarstad who provided the background text shown on the site. The celebration page is located at


Upcoming Events


Contributors to "RMI Wine and Food Bytes"

  • Kiley Athanasiou, assistant director, UC Davis Olive Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute, (530) 752-5233,
  • Pat Bailey, public information representative, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843,
  • Kim Bannister, program representative, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, UC Davis, (530) 752-5171,
  • Kathy Barrientes, director of major gifts, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, (530) 752-1602,
  • Linda M. Chimenti, chief operating officer, Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), Ames, Iowa, (515) 292-2125,
  • Ann Filmer, director of communications, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, (530) 754-6788,
  • Clare M. Hasler-Lewis, executive director, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, UC Davis, (530) 754-6349,
  • Melissa Haworth, director of major gifts, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, (530) 979-1440,
  • Lawrence Pitts, provost and executive vice chancellor, UC Office of the President, (510) 987-9200,
  • Eileen Reynolds, intern, The New Yorker, (212) 286-2860,
  • Don Roth, executive director, Robert and Margrit Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis, (530) 754-5418,
  • Eric Schroeder, lecturer, UC Davis Writing Program, (530) 757-8307,
  • Nicole Sturzenberger, assistant director, UC Davis Olive Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute, (530) 754-9301,
  • Jon Tourney, writer, Wines & Vines, (415) 453-9700,
  • Mike Wahba, proprietor, Café Americain, (916) 498-9098,