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E-news #026: Spring 2011

In this Issue


Executive Director’s Update

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

ClareHappy spring! There are so many wonderful things happening at the Robert Mondavi Institute I barely know where to start. I’ll let this issue of RMI Wine and Food Bytes, our 26th, believe it or not, tell the story but I want to highlight a few important items.

First, the RMI and the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts are having their first major fundraiser on March 17, 2012 (see first story below) in conjunction with the U.S. premier of Ballet Preljocaj’s version of the Snow White legend “Blanche Neige.” For anyone who loves the performing arts, this Snow White (definitely not the typical fairy tale version) will be like nothing you have ever seen before so get your tickets as they are going fast. As of this writing more than 600 tickets have sold. And if you would like to be one of the 300 participating in the full gala program, please contact me or Don Roth. Part of the proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to support graduate student education at the RMI.

Another wonderful recent announcement is that August A. Busch III has agreed to serve on the RMI Honorary Board. Mr. Busch joins a very distinguished group of visionaries and thought leaders in the brewing, wine, and food industries that have lent their names to support the vision of the Robert Mondavi Institute.

I don’t think anyone dreamed the new August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory and the Teaching and Research Winery would get as much national and international attention as it has in the short amount of time it has been open. We are (pleasantly) overwhelmed with tour requests on a weekly basis and recently have had an opportunity to showcase this state-of-the-art facility to our new UC Davis provost and dignitaries from Chile . I am so incredibly proud to be associated with a facility that is surely fulfilling Robert Mondavi’s vision: “a prestigious forum for collaboration between the departments of Viticulture and Enology and Food Science and Technology.”

Enjoy the sunshine!





Robert Mondavi Institute and Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts to Host Inaugural Mondavi Gala in March 2012

By Clare Hasler-Lewis and Don Roth

Blance Niege

On Saturday March 17, 2012, Ballet Preljocaj’s full-length version of the Snow White legend “Blanche Neige” will have its United States premiere at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis.

One of France’s leading choreographers, Angelin Preljocaj, first presented this full-length story ballet in 2008. Based on Grimm’s fairy tale, the production is set to music by Gustav Mahler, with costumes by Jean-Paul Gaultier, and set design by Thierry Leproust. For more information about the production, see:

Critics have called Preljocaj’s Snow White an “enchanted spectacle” and a “dazzling jewel.” French officials in San Francisco have called the Blanche Neige premiere the most significant French cultural event in Northern California in 2012.

Snow White begins its five-week American tour in Davis before traveling to the L.A. Music Center and the Kennedy Center in New York. To mark the occasion, the Mondavi Center and Robert Mondavi Institute are creating the “Mondavi Gala,” a full-evening of great wine, great chefs, and great art — a perfect distillation of the Mondavis’ vision of the good life. The gala will honor the inspirational legacy of Robert and Margrit Mondavi and their passion for UC Davis.

Tickets to the Mondavi gala are limited and include premier seating at the Saturday night performance, a pre-event champagne reception at the Mondavi Center and a post-event dinner at the Robert Mondavi Institute in the Good Life Garden. The wine-and-food-pairing dinner will feature celebrity chefs, an opportunity to meet with the dancers, and other special benefits.

Proceeds from the event will be used to support graduate student education at the Robert Mondavi Institute and a new “Artistic Ventures” fund for the Mondavi Center.

For more information about the Mondavi gala please contact Clare Hasler-Lewis at (530) 754-6349 or

August A. Busch III Joins RMI Honorary Board

By Clare Hasler-Lewis


From left: Doug and Juli Muhleman, Neal Van Alfen (dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences) and his wife, Pam Kazmierczak, August A. Busch III and his wife Virginia (Ginny) Busch and son Steven Busch in front of the new LEED Platinum facility named in honor of Mr. Busch.

I am pleased that August A. Busch III has joined the Honorary Board of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Mr. Busch joins a distinguished group of thought leaders whose expertise and industry leadership represent, inspire, and honor the institute’s vision: “Enhancing the quality of life through wine, brewing and food sciences”. Founding Honorary Board members include Frances Ford Coppola, Ann and Gordon Getty, Agustin Huneeus, Fritz Maytag, Margrit Mondavi, Paul Montrone, Wolfgang Puck and Martin Yan.

August Busch III served as president of the Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., from 1974 until June 2002, and chief executive officer from 1975 until June 2002. He was chairman of the board of directors from 1977 to 2006.

In 2002, the Anheuser-Busch Foundation pledged $5 million to construct the LEED Platinum brewing and food science laboratory at the Robert Mondavi Institute; the new facility was dedicated on January 28, 2011. This building was originally to be called the "Anheuser-Busch Brewing and Food Science Laboratory," but the Anheuser-Busch Foundation requested a name change to recognize August A. Busch III's contributions to the art of brewing.

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.

Dr. Charlie Bamforth, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences, said “I am delighted that Mr. Busch has agreed to join the Board. He is legendary within the brewing industry for his relentless insistence on the best and I take his commitment to what is happening at UC Davis as a seal of approval that we, too, are determined to excel”.


New Provost Tours Robert Mondavi Institute

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

Provost Hexter
From left: Clare Hasler-Lewis, Chik Brenneman (winery manager), Jim Seiber (chair, Department of Food Science and Technology, Provost Ralph Hexter, David Block (vice chair, Department of Viticulture and Enology) in the winery special collections room.

On Friday April 1, we had the opportunity to host UC Davis Provost Ralph Hexter on a tour of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. The provost began with a tour of the three academic buildings followed by visits to the food-processing facility and milk-processing laboratory, the Anheuser-Busch/InBev Brewery and the Teaching and Research Winery. The tour concluded with a tasting of UC Davis wine and olive oil in the winery special collections room.


Chilean Ambassador to U.S. and Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Visit the RMI

By Lovell “Tu” Jarvis

Chilean Delegation

Chilean Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Fernando Schmidt, and the Ambassador of Chile to the United States, Arturo Fermandois were the guests of honor at a reception on Thursday, April 14, held in the attractive and spacious new UC Davis Teaching and Research Winery. The undersecretary and the ambassador met earlier in the day with Governor Jerry Brown, then with UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, in each case to discuss efforts to expand the very successful Chile-California Program which is linking students, researchers, businesses, artists, and others in California with counterparts in Chile.

UC Davis has taken a lead role in developing this new collaborative project and now has nearly 40 graduate students enrolled from Chile, with more expected next year. All were invited to the reception, where they enjoyed conversations with the high-ranking diplomats from their country and with the numerous UC Davis faculty who were present as well. A number of the graduate students are working on topics in food science and viticulture, and all of the faculty are engaged in research collaborations with Chilean colleagues.

Also present from Chile were Ambassador Fermandois’ wife, Carolina Santa Cruz, Ambassador Iasuro Torres, Ambassador Gabriel Rodriguez, the Consul General of Chile in San Francisco, Rolando F. Ortega, the Technical Secretary of Chile-California Partnership, Cristobal Barros, and the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Chile, Javier Irarrázaval.

The Chilean delegation was accompanied by Agustin Huneeus, a member of the RMI Honorary Board of Directors, who is also President of the Chile-California Council, named by Chilean President, Sebastian Piñera. Jorge Andres Morande, a Chilean Agricultural Attaché who is now resident at UC Davis to help develop research collaborations in the agricultural and environmental sciences, was also present.


Third Annual Cheese Loves Beer Event Wows a Sold-Out Crowd

By Evan Brewer

Cheese Loves Beer III

The sold-out audience at the third ever-popular annual “Cheese Loves Beer: Mastering the Marriage” event on Saturday March 5 hosted by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science was treated to an evening of food, drink, history, and humor — not to mention a great time.
Guiding the audience toward an understanding of the compatibility of beer and cheese were Charlie Bamforth, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Science, and Moshe Rosenberg, professor of dairy engineering and technology, both of the Department of Food Science and Technology.
Framed as a courtship, Moshe Rosenberg opened by stating that is has become a tradition that the event is presented like matchmaking. “The cheeses are the brides — I’m the master of the brides — and the beers are the grooms — and Charlie Bamforth is master of the grooms.”

Pairings were made between brews by UC Davis grads and sheep’s milk cheeses, ranging from Berkeley-brewed Trumer Pils with Lamb Chopper, made locally at the Cypress Grove Creamery, to hops-laden Sierra Nevada Hoptiumum matched with the salty potency of Papillion Black Label Roquefort.

The eight “couples” this year:

  • Trumer Pils and Lamb Chopper
  • Wheat Beer and Nisa
  • Belgium White and Brebirousse D’Argental
  • Blonde Bock and Osau Iraty
  • Orange Wheat and Kashkaval
  • Temptation and Fiore Sardo
  • Smoked Porter and Idiazabal
  • Hoptimum and Roquefort

But the pairing of the night was that of the hosts, Moshe Rosenberg, and Charles Bamforth. Their wit, erudition, and enthusiasm during both the introductory lectures and during the tasting itself provided background and character to the couples and made the event one to remember.

A theme throughout the night was that despite commonly being paired with wine, cheese and beer form equally excellent combinations. By the end of the night there was no doubting the truth of Rosenberg’s verdict that “once again it has been proven that cheese loves beer." With Bamforth providing the perfect summary, “every pairing was a success, speaking to the rich compatibility of some dramatically different cheeses and beers. Great fun, as well as a hedonic thrill.”

This event was made possible by the generous donations from Anheuser-Busch InBev, Corti Brothers, Cypress Grove Creamery, Gordon Biersch, Hanger 24 Craft Brewery, Murray’s Cheese, Napa Smith Brewery, Russian River Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co., and Trumer Brauerei.

“Uncorked” Ends the Season on a Tasty Note

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

The last two “Uncorked” events of the season at the Mondavi Center ended on a delightfully tasty note (excuse the puns). This monthly collaboration between the Robert Mondavi Institute and the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts featured two excellent wineries in March and April: C.G. Di’ Arie and Boeger Winery, respectively.

On March 12 and 26, C.G. Di’ Arie owners Chaim Gur-Arieh and his wife, Elisheva, poured several wonderful wines from their Sierra Foothills winery and discussed their long-time passion for wine, food, and the arts. Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Chaim emigrated to Israel as a teenager and after completing his military service he studied at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, receiving a B.S. degree in chemical engineering. Soon after, Chaim moved to the United States where he earned an M.S. and a Ph.D. in food science at the University of Illinois. Chaim then joined the Quaker Oats Company where he helped develop, among other products, the breakfast cereal Cap’n Crunch. In 1998, Chaim and Elisheva, a former ballerina, began to pursue their life-long dream of creating world-class wines. And they have been doing so ever since.

Uncorked Boeger
From left: Don Roth, Clare Hasler-Lewis, Sue and Greg Boeger

Another winery from the Sierra Foothills was featured at Uncorked on April 8 and 22: Boeger Winery. The winery sits on a 1850s site that was homesteaded by the Fossati-Lombardo family. The original house, cellar, and distillery are still used today. Greg and Sue Boeger purchased the ranch in 1972 and started planting vineyards and built a new state-of-the-art winery the following year. The old Fossati-Lombardo house was converted into a tasting room and was opened to the public in 1974.

Head winemaker Justin Boeger (son of Greg and Sue) is a 1998 graduate of UC Davis with a degree in fermentation science. Justin has won numerous prestigious awards, including double golds, “Best ofs” and the 2008 California Grand Champion Zinfandel (the 2006 Walker). We were honored to have Justin and his wife, Eileen Javora, represent the winery on April 8, with Greg and Sue joining us on April 22.

We are currently lining up wineries to feature during Uncorked during the 2011–2012 Mondavi Center season, so watch for additional details on the website.


Kinsella Chairs’ Conference Reflects on the Future of Agriculture

By Suanne Klahorst

Kinsella Symposium

Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Sciences, welcomed participants to the conference, “Food Quality Traits Sustaining Agriculture for the 21st Century,” held in March. Van Alfen’s comments set the stage for the challenges ahead as agriculture prepares to feed a world population expected to reach 9 billion in 2050.

Van Alfen notes that many areas of the world are “still in a hunter-gatherer food system, which has depleted the oceans of protein, demanding more of land-based agriculture. The U.S. has a quality of life which other countries want to emulate, but rather than exporting a lifestyle that requires the highest use of resources, we should export sustainable lifestyles.” He believes that UC Davis has the opportunity to become world leaders in agriculture at the same time that the campus is sustaining its own future as a research organization.

UC Davis is first in the world among universities conducting agricultural research, and has no peers in research productivity among organizations of its size. It produces double the research of larger government research organizations at 5 percent of their total budget according to outside organizations.

Robert Gore, special assistant to the UC Davis chancellor, addressed policy needs that education can address. “Consumer awareness—both of nutritional value and food safety—is at an all-time high” and consumers are “willing to pay more for food produced according to societal shared values,” said Gore. Sustainable agriculture is not yet widely understood, and means many different things to producers and consumers. The time is right for regulatory streamlining that permits farmers to feed twice as many people on the same amount of land, while remaining good stewards of the environment. Gore believes that university agricultural research can be the honest broker between producers and regulators, developing sustainable options for managing inputs in defined methodologies to enhance yield while maintaining or improving the land.

Linda Harris, a food safety specialist at UC Davis, provided an overview of the risks associated with the food supply. There are 31 major pathogens tracked by the Centers for Disease Control, including bacteria, parasites, and viruses that cause 9.4 million cases of illness, 56,000 hospitalizations, and 1,300 deaths annually. In addition, unknown agents are estimated to cause another 38 million cases of illness, 72,000 hospitalizations and 1,700 deaths, mostly from diarrheal illnesses. The World Health Organization estimates that foodborne and waterborne diseases kill 2.2 million people annually, 1.9 million of whom are children.

The complexity of the metabolism of nutrients from foods identified as healthy foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, was addressed by Professor Alyson Mitchell, Department of Food Science and Technology. She seeks to elucidate the mechanisms by which foods are metabolized and said, “the fundamental issue is that there is typically little or no accounting for food-matrix interactions and little understanding of true chemical composition of these bioactives in foods. We need a more comprehensive chemical portrait of a food before we can begin to really understand how foods influence health. We have been able to show that one flavonoid is metabolized into 25 metabolites in humans when it is consumed.”

Professor Bruce German, director of the UC Davis Foods for Health Institute, talked about how UC Davis is addressing the multidisciplinary problems of feeding the world. Reflecting on advances in chemistry and industrialized chemicals, scientists of the past were reductionists, reducing every amino acid and vitamin to essential molecules that can be identified and provided. If only the rest of the diet could be that simple. While some people are enjoying extended life and excellent health as the result of these advances, some are not.

UC Davis has the largest repository of genomic information in the world, which can be defined as the response of organisms to Darwinian selective pressure. Lactation is the perfect example of evolution’s solution to nutrition. The UC Davis Glycobiology Group is going beyond understanding essential nutrients to understand the nonessential nutrients, even those that are indigestible, such as the large amounts of free oligosaccharides in milk that nourish the infant microbiota to protect the infant from pathogens. Human milk and lactation evolved under constant pressure to be nourishing, protective, and supportive of infant health. Lipid delivery to the infant by human milk provides a new target for agriculture, requiring more land-based omega-3 fatty acids to supplement those available from the sea. Knowing more about the new targets for health will transform agriculture to produce a new generation of foods that can deliver health more effectively.

Professor Pam Ronald, Department of Plant Pathology, believes that it is possible to feed the world without destroying the environment if diverse farming practices and seed technologies are made available to create a new type of sustainable agriculture. These can be useful if the evaluation of new technologies and farming practices are science-based.

Will Rosenzweig, managing director of Physic Ventures, San Francisco, presented an overview of venture capitalism for product innovation targeted at health-conscious consumers and sustainable living. He has seen slow adoption rates for new processes and technologies in agriculture. Investment in the ecosystem is immature. His recent ventures include natural cosmetics and a digital consumer “good guide” to 400,000 products. Every eight seconds someone turns 65, so the desire to age gracefully and healthfully and to provide generational equity for our offspring is generating interest in food systems that preserve the environment as well as the economic landscape.

A lively discussion ensued among all conference participants about the role of science in food production which is sometimes at odds with the desires of consumers. One example given by Linda Harris is the tremendous growth in the interest in raw milk, 80 years after pasteurization was implemented to enhance milk safety. Jim Seiber, chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology said that the “sheer magnitude of what it will take to feed the world in the future will make science the most acceptable source of agricultural solutions.”


Medium-density Olive Production Symposium

By Nicole Sturzenberger

Medium Density

Keeping up with olive farming trends, the UC Davis Olive Center offered a two-day symposium focused on medium-density olive planting. The technique has been growing in popularity around the world as it combines aspects of both traditional and high-density planting. The symposium, held at Freeborn Hall on the UC Davis campus, was attended by 130 participants interested in expanding their knowledge of the technique.

Keynote speaker Leandro Ravetti of Australia’s Boundary Bend led attendees through every aspect of production from site selection and orchard establishment to harvest, milling, and storage. Boundary Bend is Australia’s largest olive oil producer and the company has both medium-density and high-density plantings.

To keep information pertinent to California each session was followed by a panel made up of growers, farm advisors, and processors. Ravetti will return to California in September to speak at the center’s third annual Master Millers Short Course.


The Business of Olive Oil Production and Keys to Quality Olive Oil

By Kiley Athanasiou

The UC Davis Olive Center held two highly successful one-day short courses in May aimed at medium-sized olive growers and olive oil producers. Business consultant Caroline Beck presented three highly informative presentations on “Turning Passion into Business,” “Strategies for Profitability,” and “Marketing and Selling in the 21st Century.” Beck claims that many people fall in love with the romantic idea of producing olive oil without fully investigating whether or not their business approach makes any sense.

Adam Englehardt, vice president of Orchard Operations at California Olive Ranch, instructed participants on rowing issues to consider when planting and harvesting olives — how to “farm smart” in order to save time and money. More than 100 olive oil enthusiasts attended over the two classes. Michael Bradley, president of Veronica Foods Company, was the keynote speaker on day one. Mike’s experience in the olive oil industry as both a producer and importer uniquely position him to see the “big picture” of selling olive oil and making a profit. Mike’s take-away message to attendees is that the U.S. needs to actively seek to implement stricter quality standards for both imported and domestic extra virgin olive oil.

Olive Oil Production
Dan Flynn of the UC Davis Olive Center and Adam Englehardt of California Olive Ranch enjoy a laugh while learning blending techniques with extra virgin olive oil.

Day two of the short course focused on “Keys to Quality Olive Oil Production.” Once again, the audience was dazzled with Adam Englehardt’s incredible knowledge and remarkable data to back up his experience and observations. Englehardt addressed ways in which orchard management and harvest practices can affect olive oil quality. To underscore his observations, two separate tasting exercises were facilitated by olive oil consultant and educator, Alexandra Devarenne. In one of the best-liked segments of the short course, participants were able to taste how different factors such as early harvest versus late harvest can affect the quality and taste attributes of an olive oil.

After sampling several different olive oils with different flavor profiles and cost points, participants were challenged to come up with different blends representing different price points and then discuss the marketability of such blends. These exercises opened many people’s eyes to the scientific nature of producing a high-quality oil that is well liked by most consumers and that meets a price point that is not cost prohibitive.

To round off an extremely informative day of presentations and exercises, Dr. Lamberto Baccioni, CEO of Agrivision, presented data on how to prevent defects when milling olive oil and how to achieve a consistent sensory profile year after year.

During both days of presentations, numerous olive oil experts, consultants, millers, and producers served as panelists to answer questions and contribute to discussions geared to broaden the knowledge of those in attendance. Attendees finished the Olive Center’s short courses armed with facts, figures, and insights to better help them establish a quality olive oil business. By presenting a realistic picture of the current status of olive oil production for medium-sized producers in the United States, attendees learned to ascertain with confidence what their goals and objectives are for their agribusiness.


Study Finds Imported Olive Oil Quality Unreliable

(Adapted from an April 13, 2011, press release by Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Services)

Nearly three-quarters of the samples of top-selling imported olive oil brands failed international extra virgin standards, according to a new report by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and in Australia.

“The United States is the third-largest consumer of olive oil in the world,” said Dan Flynn, executive director of the UC Davis Olive Center. “While there are many excellent imported and domestic olive oils available, our tests indicate that there are serious quality problems out there.”

In this second and final report in a yearlong study of extra virgin olive oil sold at retail, the research team examined 134 samples of eight high-volume brands of olive oil purchased in major supermarkets throughout California. Sensory and chemical tests were conducted by the UC Davis Olive Center and the Australian Oils Research Laboratory.

Extra virgin is the top grade of olive oil, evaluated according to standards established by the International Olive Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To be considered extra virgin, the oils must have no sensory defects such as rancidity. They also must offer some fruity flavor and aroma and meet very specific chemistry-based criteria.

During the study, all tests were performed “blind,” meaning the researchers and technical personnel did not know the brand name or country of origin of the sampled olive oils.

Top-selling brands showed quality problems

The report revealed that 73 percent (66 to 90 samples) of the five top-selling imported brands failed international sensory standards for extra virgin olive oil by failing two International Olive Council-accredited taste panels. The samples had objectionable sensory attributes such as rancidity and “fustiness,” a fermentation defect.

The same five brands failed sensory tests at the same 73-percent rate (11 of 15 samples) in a UC Davis report release in July 2010. Of the samples that failed both sensory panels, 35 percent also failed an International Olive Council standard for ultraviolet absorption. The report states that the council’s other common chemical standards were not useful in confirming negative sensory results.

Some brands did well

None of the California and Australian olive oil samples failed both sensory panels, and just 11 percent of a high-volume premium Italian brand failed both sensory panels.

The California and Australian brands passed all of the International Olive Council chemical tests used in the study, and just 11 percent of the premium Italian brands failed on of the IOC chemical tests.

Standards could be improved

Two tests for standards that have not been adopted by the International Olive Council yielded results that supported the negative sensory results. These tests, known as diacylglycerol content and pyropheophytin, have been adopted in Germany and Australia. They confirmed negative sensory results among the olive oils sampled in this study, with 65 percent of the samples failing the diacylglycerol test and 49 precent failing the pryopheophytin test.

In the report, the researchers suggested that International Olive Council and U.S. Department of Agriculture standards would be more effective in assessing and enforcing olive oil quality if they included the German/Australian tests.

“The best extra virgin oil will smell and taste fresh,” said Flynn. He added that quality oils often show the most recent harvest year on the bottle, and have containers that protect the oil from light and are not dusty or shopworn.

The report recommends that further research should be conducted to investigate chemical markers for sensory defects and determine the effects of minor olive-oil constituents on the oil’s flavor and stability. The researchers also suggest that chemical profiles of California olive oils should be analyzed.

Funding for the new study was provided by Corto Olive, California Olive Ranch, and the California Olive Oil Council.

The new report is available online at

Salute Santé! Makes “Liquid Gold” at Robert Mondavi Institute

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

Salute Sante

“Liquid Gold” — that is what Valentin and Nanette Humer, co-owners of Food & Vine in Napa, Calif., call Salute Santé!, the cold-pressed grapeseed oil they produce. They brought their passion, energy, and enthusiasm for their favorite grape by-product to the Robert Mondavi Institute food-processing facility in April to demonstrate how this unique product is made and how it turns an ordinary seed into several valuable by-products.

A ton of grapes is about 25 percent pomace, which yields about 68 pounds of dry grape seeds and 3 liters of grapeseed oil. In addition, the resulting presscake can be turned into flour for food use, pharmaceuticals, or cosmetics. According to Valentin, wineries have to either pay to get rid of the pomace or compost it. “In either case, they’re wasting a valuable part of the grape” he says.

Oil pressed from grape seeds is commonly used for cooking in Europe, but it is not extracted in California despite the mountain of seeds discarded each year. The Humers use the latest in German engineering to produce the best-tasting grapeseed oil of the highest quality, comparable to artisanal extra virgin olive oil. It has a delightful buttery aroma and flavor reminiscent of the wine crush. It is healthy, too—high in antioxidants and vitamin E and low in saturated fats. The Humers believe that California could become a major supplier of grapeseed oil and they hope to lead the industry. Food & Vine is currently selling grapeseed presses to the wine industry and Valentin is available for customer production needs. For more information about Salute Santé! Grapeseed Oil and Food & Vine, see:

2011 Walt Klenz Lecture Features William “Bill” Price

By Kathy Barrientes

This sixth annual event, sponsored by Treasury Wine Estates (formerly Beringer/Foster), featured William S. “Bill” Price, III, owner of Durell Vineyard, Three Sticks (a boutique winery in Sonoma), and co-founder of The Vincraft Group, a wine acquisition company.

Walt Klenz

Following welcoming remarks by Clare Hasler-Lewis, RMI executive director, and Andy Waterhouse, chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology, Walt Klenz said a few words about the lectureship endowed in his name while he was CEO of Beringer Blass Wine Estates in recognition of his many contributions to the wine industry. He noted that the goal of the lecture series is to provide students an overview of the many facets of the business of the wine industry. Price’s lecture, “Don’t put your name on the label: Hard earned lessons about making money in the wine business,” certainly achieved that objective.

Bill Price
Bill Price

Price began his remarks by honoring Klenz, stating that “the amount of wisdom about wine business Walt has forgotten exceeds what most people in the business know.” He then briefly discussed his long and varied background in the wine industry, saying that he was “either committed or addicted to the wine business.”

According to Bill Price, people enter the wine business for six primary reasons: they love to make or at least drink wine, they want a career involving a product they are passionate about, their family has a wine business, they like the lifestyle aspects, they want an international opportunity, and they are a chemist who does not want to make plastic (the latter reason applied to a couple of students in the audience, one of whom stated that making wine “was the symmetry of all sciences”).

Price emphasized that opportunities abounded in the wine industry today, ending his presentation with “Bill Price’s Nine Guidelines to Making Money”:

  1. Making good wine is easy; selling it is not
  2. If you put your name on the label, you better plan on it being a family business
  3. There are multiple models of profitable winery business models but they all have rules
  4. Cyclicality is your friend — if you have staying power
  5. If you want to make money, you have to be willing to sell things
  6. Simplicity is valued by ALL buyers
  7. Have a point of view about what you are creating
  8. Quality is not in the eye of the beholder, quality is value specific
  9. The time to think about selling is the day you start, the day you sell, and all the time in between

He concluded by stating, “Do what you love and the money will follow — IF you focus on the financial plan as well as the passion.”

Following the lecture, which was attended by an audience of 50 students, faculty, staff, and wine enthusiasts, the participants enjoyed a reception featuring a taste of Beringer Vineyards Napa Valley wines and appetizers catered by Season’s Restaurant, thanks to the vision of Beringer Vineyards and the ongoing generosity of Treasury Wine Estates.

Third RMI Historical Agriculture Book Nominated for Benjamin Franklin Award

By Axel Borg

Decker Book

“Cheddar Cheese Making & Elements of Dairying” by John Wright Decker has been named as one of the three finalists in the 2011 Benjamin Franklin Award competition in two categories: “Science” and “Gardening/Agriculture.” This is the third in a unique series of historic agriculture books that the Robert Mondavi Institute is producing on an occasional basis. The series is made possible by the generous philanthropic support of an anonymous donor.

The Benjamin Franklin Awards are in recognition of outstanding publishing by the Independent Book Publishers Association. This, our second nomination, provides national recognition of our outstanding publishing that is yet another dimension of excellence that the Robert Mondavi Institute has achieved in a short span of time.

This is the first of Decker’s two books, Cheddar Cheese Making (1893) and Elements of Dairying (1903), that have ever been published together in one volume. Augmented with newly discovered photographs and biographical information, this book provides the reader with a snapshot of Decker’s groundbreaking pedagogy, exemplary of his dedication to what would one day become known as the Wisconsin Idea. Decker was an instrumental force in the United States and Canada, establishing the idea that it was necessary to develop a better overall dairy industry for cheese makers to produce better cheese. And better cheeses come from educated cheese makers.

To obtain copies of this book and the previous two books in the series, Emmet Rixford’s The Wine Press and the Cellar (1883) and California’s Olive Pioneers-Early Essays on Olives & Olive Oil, contact Kim Bannister; (530) 753-5171 or Copies are also available at the UC Davis Bookstore and on The fourth book in the series, The California Vegetables in Garden and Field, by Edward J. Wickson, will be released in September.


National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Awarded to Arielle Johnson

By Susan Ebeler

Arielle Johnson

Arielle Johnson has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. These presitigious three-year fellowships are highly selective and are awareded annually by the Graduate Research Fellowship Program to 2,000 graduate students who demonstrate outstanding initiative, abilities, and accomplishments, and show potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise.

Arielle is a Ph.D. candidate in the Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry Graduate Group, working under the direction of Dr. Susan Ebeler in the Department of Viticulture and Enology. Her dissertation research will expand our understanding of how specific odorants induce perceptual interactions in real-food systems of gastronomic importance. She will use advanced analytical chemistry tools and sensory science methodologies to study aroma and taste in wine and food systems.

Johnson received her B.S. degree in chemistry from New York University, where she collaborated with the Experimental Cuisine Collective (ECC), a working group devoted to the multidisciplinary study of food and gastronomy, on research on the texture properties of Turkish stretchy ice cream (Marass Dondurma). She published this work in the forthcoming book The Kitchen as a Laboratory: Science Inspired by the Kitchen; and it has been widely reported on in the popular literature, including segments on NPR, the Food Network,, New York Magazine, and the Discovery Channel.

While at UC Davis, Johnson has been active as a teaching assistant in the Department of Viticulture and Enology and has worked on raising the profile of gastronomy-directed science, traveling to visit likeminded academics and chefs in New York, San Francisco, Cambridge, the UK, and Spain. Her career goals are to continue researching the flavor chemistry and perception of food, eating, and drinking at the university level; applying flavor chemistry knowledge for the restaurant kitchen; and science education through dialogue with practitioners of other food-related disciplines.


2011 Special Issue of Food & Foodways, on the Theme “Food Globality and Foodways Localities”

Edited by Carolyn de la Peña and Benjamin N. Lawrance

Food and Foodways

In a 2011 special issue of Food & Foodways we explore the intersection of food and foodways from global and local perspectives. The special issue comprises an introduction, seven articles, and an afterword. The seven original articles were first drafted as contributions to a conference entitled “Tasting Histories: Food and Drink Culture through the Ages,” convened to celebrate the 2008 opening of the Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science at the University of California, Davis. The seven articles we selected were among the best of approximately 50 papers presented at the conference, which themselves were selected from over 130 submissions.

The collection contributes to interdisciplinary debates about the role and movement of comodities in the historical and contemporary world. The seven articles and afterword by the noted theorist of cuisine, Rachel Laudan, collectively address a fundamental tension in the emerging scholarly terrain of food studies, namely theorizing the relationship between foodstuff and production and cuisine patterns. The articles explore curry, bread, coffee, milk, pulque, Virginia ham, and U.S. ethnic restaurants.

The contributors’ disciplinary backgrounds include history, anthroplogy, geography, cultural studies, and American studies. Regions of the world encompassed in the collection include North and Central America, Europe, China, India, sub-Saharan Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, and Russia.

“Tasting Histories” explores critical issues in food and drink production and consumption. We encouraged participants to deploy a world-historical lens. We found particularly compelling research that explored the ways in which food and people interact when one or the other is in motion. In some cases it is the foods that move, traveling between points of origin and points of consumption on their way to becoming “global” cuisines. In others, it is peole who move, creating new meanings for “local” products, sometimes but not always in anticipation of external markets.

Essays in the special collection consider movements in context, and, in so doing, complicate notions that food “shapes” culture as it crosses the borders or that culture “adapts” foods to its neo-local or global contexts. By studying closely the dynamics of contact between mobile foods and/or people and the specific communities of consumption they create, these authors reveal the process whereby local foods become global or global foods become local to be a dynamic, co-creative one jointly facilitated by humans and nature.


In Brief

Department of Viticulture and Enology Welcomes Anita Oberholster

Dr. Anita Oberholster arrived April 1 as a new Cooperative Extension specialist in enology. Born in South Africa, Oberholster obtained her undergraduate training at Stellenbosch in chemistry and biochemistry, and received her Ph.D. from Adelaide University in Australia. At UC Davis she plans to focus on research that is of interest to the industry, including the effect of barrel maturation on wine aging and quality, as well as looking at different cap management techniques for different varietals. To read more:

Professor Charlie Bamforth Receives Award of Distinction

Charlie Bamforth will be recognized by the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC) Awards Committee and the ASBC Board of Directors as the recipient of the 2011 Award of Distinction. This award acknowledges exceptional lifetime achievement, contribution, and service to brewing and the brewing industry. Bamforth was selected for his long-term service to the society in elected and appointed positions, as well as his valuable contribution to the society. The Awards Committee will present this prestigious at the society’s annual meeting in Sanibel Island, Florida in June.

Upcoming Events


Contributors to "RMI Wine and Food Bytes”

  • Kiley Athanasiou, assistant director, UC Davis Olive Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute, UC Davis, (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 Sachs-Barrientes, director of major gifts, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, (530) 752-1602,
  • Axel E. Borg, wine and food science bibliographer, Shields Library, UC Davis, (530) 752-6176,
  • Susan Ebeler, professor, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis, (530) 752-0696,
  • Evan Brewer, UC Davis alumnus,
  • Ann Filmer, director of communications, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, (530) 754-6788,
  • Lovell S. (Tu) Jarvis, professor and special assistant to the dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, (530) 752-0110,
  • Suanne Klahorst, grant writer, Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis, (530) 752-2232,
  • Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, UC Davis, (530) 754-6349,
  • Benjamin Lawrance, Barber B. Conable, Jr. Endowed Chair of International Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology,
  • Carolyn de la Peña, director, Humanities Institute, UC Davis, (530) 574-8459,
  • Don Roth, executive director, Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, (530) 754-5418,
  • Nicole Sturzenberger, assistant director, UC Davis Olive Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute, UC Davis, (530) 754-9301,