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E-news #027: Summer 2011

In this Issue


Executive Director’s Update

By Clare Hasler-Lewis


Why I thought this summer was going to be fairly quiet at the Robert Mondavi Institute is beyond me. It has been anything but! Beginning on May 14 with the Winkler Dinner — an event not to be missed, followed by the Huell Howser extravaganza on May 23, it has been full throttle — just the way I like it.

In June we co-hosted the first UC Davis conference on wine regulations with the School of Law. Kudos to Beth Greenwood and Whitney Denning for organizing such an interesting and informative event. Our second annual Dairy Technology Day on June 7 was a great success with a focus on sustainability this year…a topic near and dear to the heart of UC Davis.  

Also in June, Robert Mondavi’s personal and professional papers were donated to the University Library at UC Davis by his children, Marcia, Tim, and Michael. This generous gift will extend the remarkable legacy of Robert’s passion and lifelong learning about the “nectar of the Gods” to researchers and scholars around the globe. Margrit Mondavi led a toast in honor of the 98th anniversary of Mr. Mondavi’s birth at the Robert Mondavi Winery in July.

In addition to the slate of RMI events over the summer, we also have new leadership. The departments of Food Science and Technology and Viticulture and Enology welcomed new department chairs on July 1. I very much look forward to working with Professors McCarthy and Block in their new departmental roles and to their counsel as chair and co-chairs of the RMI executive committee.  

The RMI Board of Executives also has a new member: Scott Ungermann, brewmaster at the Anheuser-Busch/InBev facility in Fairfield, Calif.. He replaces Jane Killebrew-Galeski who will be greatly missed.

I hope you enjoy reading in more detail below about all of the RMI summer activities and also (for local residents) that you are relishing the glorious weather.






Mondavi Family Donates Robert Mondavi Papers to UC Davis University Library

(Adapted from a June 14, 2011, press release by Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service)

Mondavi Family
Photo of Robert Mondavi with his parents on graduation day from Stanford University in 1936.

The family of the late Robert Mondavi — the winemaker who helped turn California into one of the world's premier wine regions — has donated his professional and personal papers to the University Library at UC Davis.

The Robert G. Mondavi Papers include Mondavi's correspondence with industry colleagues, international travel files, photographs, writings and speeches, and historical records of the Robert Mondavi Winery. The collection, which comprises more than 40 boxes worth of
materials, will serve as a research asset for scholars around the world and provide insight into Mondavi's work and life as a winemaker, business leader, and philanthropist. The collection will enhance the library's renowned viticulture and enology collection.

"Robert Mondavi has a tremendous legacy as a winemaker and as a philanthropist," said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. "By giving Robert's papers to UC Davis and making his work available to researchers around the world, the Mondavi family extends this remarkable legacy of discovery and generosity."

The Department of Special Collections in UC Davis' Peter J. Shields Library will be the repository for the collection. Once cataloged, the papers will be accessible as research resources for both the university and the public.

The gift of the collection to the library reflects the longstanding relationship between UC Davis and the Mondavi family. Robert Mondavi regularly consulted the research of UC Davis faculty members such as Maynard Amerine, the late viticulture and enology professor whose work on taste perception and home winemaking methods helped promote the consumption of wine as a popular beverage.

"UC Davis is thrilled to be the new home of the Robert G. Mondavi Papers," said Acting University Librarian Randolph M. Siverson. "This collection will provide a window into the connections and activities of one of the world's most notable winemakers. We greatly appreciate
that the Mondavi family has entrusted UC Davis with this marvelous collection."

The collection includes documents such as Mondavi's speech at Julia Child's 90th birthday celebration; a transcribed oral history of Robert Mondavi; a photo of Robert with his parents on his college graduation in 1936; and Mondavi's correspondence with then-Gov. Gray Davis.

"The collection will be an excellent resource for faculty, students, and researchers writing dissertations, theses, and publications," said Head of Special Collections Daryl Morrison.

The collection also includes speeches that convey Mondavi's philosophy about wine, such as the following excerpt from a 1989 speech:

"My purpose is to educate people for what wine is... It is the temperate, civilized, romantic meal-time beverage recognized in the Bible. The liquid food praised since civilization started 8,000 years ago by rulers, philosophers, physicians, scholars and statesmen for life, happiness and longevity. It is the only natural beverage that feeds not only the body but the soul and spirit of man."

The papers were donated by Mondavi's children: Marcia Mondavi Borger, a partner at Continuum Estate, a newly established vineyard estate in Napa Valley; Tim Mondavi, also a partner at Continuum Estate; and Michael Mondavi, the founder of the Michael Mondavi Family Estate and Folio Fine Wine Partners.

"Like UC Davis, my father believed passionately that learning is lifelong and a shared knowledge of wine and food elevates all our lives," said Mondavi Borger. "We are very pleased to be able to honor Dad's accomplishments with this gift, and hope that his papers will be a source of knowledge and inspiration."

Mondavi Handwritten Notes
Handwritten notes by Robert Mondavi about family businesses.

Michael Mondavi commented on the teaching and research value of the collection: "It is a special honor to share my father's papers with students and scholars who are interested in the history of California wines."

For Tim Mondavi, the gift of the papers is in keeping with the example his father set to share his winemaking knowledge. "From 1936, when my family first came to Napa Valley until his passing in 2008, my father amassed a lifetime's worth of knowledge and expertise," he said. "He was always ready to share his experience with all who came to see him at the winery he built in Oakville. It is an honor to know that his work will continue to teach and guide students at UC Davis now and in the future."

Robert Mondavi is credited with bringing worldwide recognition to California wine through his use of new technology and his management and marketing expertise.

"Robert Mondavi brought a new understanding to the wine industry," said Andrew Waterhouse, [former] chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. "He encouraged his Napa neighbors to learn about new technology from UC Davis and other research centers worldwide, so that the overall quality of Napa wine rose dramatically. Robert's support of UC Davis teaching, research and extension demonstrated his commitment to elevating the quality of all California wines."

After heading Charles Krug Winery with his brother for 23 years, Mondavi, together with son Michael, founded Robert Mondavi Winery in 1966. He was 52 years old at the time. The first major winery built in Napa Valley since Prohibition, the Mondavi enterprise introduced
several fine winemaking techniques to California, including cold fermentation, stainless steel tanks and the use of French oak barrels. Mondavi also started blind tastings in Napa Valley, allowing consumers to evaluate wine quality. In the 1970s, the winery was among the first to export premium wines.

The Robert Mondavi Winery grew to include multiple wineries and extensive vineyard holdings in California as well as partnerships with prominent wine families in France, Italy, Chile and Australia. Mondavi died in 2008 at the age of 94.

"This great historical collection — reflecting Robert Mondavi's contributions to the California wine industry — is a rich mine of inspiration for those who, like me, are driven to excel in winemaking," said Warren Winiarski, the founder of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and owner of Arcadia Vineyard in Napa Valley. Winiarski worked with Robert Mondavi beginning in 1966. He joined with members of the Mondavi family in providing philanthropic support to the library for the preservation of the collection.

Robert and Margrit Mondavi
Robert and Margrit Mondavi

Robert and his wife, Margrit, were also generous supporters of the university. In 2001, the couple gave $35 million to UC Davis to launch the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and to help build the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. The institute includes the world's first LEED Platinum winery, brewery and food sciences facility, which was constructed entirely with philanthropic funds. It officially opened its doors in January.

Margrit Mondavi continues to be actively involved at UC Davis, serving as honorary co-chair of the university's first-ever $1 billion fundraising initiative, The Campaign for UC Davis. Last year, she pledged $2 million toward the design and construction of a planned UC Davis Museum of Art.

"It is very fitting that Robert's papers have been given to UC Davis, as Robert was incredibly proud of his association with this university, and grateful for the outstanding teachers and researchers in viticulture and enology," Margrit Mondavi said. "I know he would have shared his children's joy in making this gift to such a great university, a university that has produced graduates who have contributed immensely to the California wine industry."

UC Davis' University Library is already home to one of the finest collections of grape-growing and winemaking literature in the world. The holdings of the research collection include more than 29,000 volumes with nearly 7,000 rare books from the 16th century on and more than 70 manuscript and archival collections. More than 40 languages are represented. The viticulture and enology collection includes manuscripts from many esteemed leaders in the field, such as Amerine and the late Harold Olmo, a UC Davis professor who established the first grapevine quarantine facility in the 1950s, enabling California growers to import foreign vines, and in turn leading to an expansion of the state's wine industry.

A Celebration to Remember, Robert Mondavi's Birthday

By Clare-Hasler Lewis


Robert Mondavi Birthday

On Friday, June 17, 2011 people around the world joined Margrit Mondavi, winemaker Genevieve Janssens, and other special guests to toast the 98th anniversary of Robert Mondavi’s birth as well as his legendary accomplishments.

Mr. Mondavi passed away in May 2008.  Proceeds from wine sales that week were donated to Days of Taste, a program of The American Institute of Wine and Food, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating children about the food we eat.  

During her toast Mrs. Mondavi reminded everyone of something Robert used to say: “A good Cabernet should have the softness of a baby’s bottom and the power of a Pavarotti.”

I’ll drink to that!

RMI Board of Executives Welcomes Scott Ungermann

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

Scott Ungermann
Brewmaster Scott Ungermann

The board of executives of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science was established in 2008 to provide strategic advice and leadership to the executive director and the executive committee from diverse perspectives in the wine, brewing, and food industries and help build support for the institute and its programs.

Scott Ungermann, brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch/InBev in Fairfield, Calif. recently joined the board of executives. Scott replaces Jane-Killebrew-Galeski, director of brewing quality and innovation, who has served on the board since its inception and is stepping down due to time constraints.

In his current role, Ungermann is responsible for all aspects of safety, quality, budget, and process control in the brewing department. Ungermann has held various positions in the company since joining in 1995 as an assistant brewmaster in Columbus, Ohio.  A UC Davis graduate, he received his B.S. in English in 1988 and his M.S. in food science in 1997.

The 2011 Winkler Dinner - Great Food, Great Wine

(Adapted from a May 31, 2011, article by Susan Leonardi, The Davis Enterprise)

Winkler Jane and Bees
From left, Jane Killebrew-Galeski and Leslie (Bees) Butler

Every year, the student group DEVO (Davis Enology and Viticulture Organization) puts on a fundraising gala, the Winkler Dinner. It used to take place under the famous Winkler vine that at one time covered 3,600 square feet and produced 150 pounds of fruit a year and aptly called, “Dinner Under the Winkler Vine”.

Named for the late professor of viticulture Albert J. Winkler, who was instrumental in developing the enology and viticulture department at UC Davis, it succumbed to disease in 2008.

This year, the event was held on May 14 in the courtyard outside the new LEED Platinum Teaching and Research Winery at the Robert Mondavi Institute.  

For the annual, student-organized dinner, several winemakers contributed their best bottles and several chefs contributed their best culinary efforts.  The result was a six-course feast, proceeds from which support student events like immersion trips to wine-growing regions and travel scholarships for internships outside the United States.

I could regale you with details of the uniformly excellent courses and their accompanying wines, but I’ll just whet your appetite for next year’s dinner with my own favorite pairings.

First, the seared sea scallops (with roasted fennel, spring onion, perilla and basil — by Ed Roehr of Magpie Cafe in Sacramento), served with 2009 Breggo Cellars Anderson Valley Riesling, a dry, fruity, minerally example of this versatile varietal, which worked perfectly with the course. It also worked well with the following course — a lovely piece of halibut that was paired with a Chardonnay.

The Riesling winemaker, Ryan Hodgins, studied at UC Davis and there met and married a fellow vintner. Ryan not only makes acclaimed Breggo wines but he and Molly now have their own Napa label, M. Autumn.

The second course was the herbed pork loin with polenta (done by local chef Tony Gruska of Monticello), which a 2008 Sangiovese complemented beautifully. This wine came from D’Argenzio, a family-owned winery in Santa Rosa.

Winkler Smiles
Smiles all around as guests and students enjoyed the dinner.

Winemaker Ray D’Argenzio attended the dinner, accompanied by his daughter Brianna. She, Ray proudly admitted, was, in fact, the winemaker of this vintage — her first.

The dessert was fabulous — an apricot-studded yeast cake served with a marzipan medallion and whipped cream — made by Janine Weismann of Bouchon Bakery, accompanied by a Beringer Nightingale.

DEVO members not only organized this splendid banquet but also served as assistant chefs and wait staff.

After dinner, this year’s three recipients of the DEVO travel grants spoke briefly about their plans to study winemaking in France and Italy.

Save your pennies or your 2011 tax refund and try to attend next year’s dinner — you’ll have an excellent evening.

An "Amazing" Afternoon: Huell Howser Day in Aggie Land

(Adapted from a May 23, 2011, press release by Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service)

Huell Howser Bus
Visitors board a double-decker bus May 21 for a campus tour during the KVIE-Ch. 6 Huell Howser fundraising event. Photo by: Cheng Saechao/UC Davis

It was all Huell Howser — and UC Davis — as more than 400 Californians gathered, Saturday May 21, to reprise the broadcaster’s popular 2007 Road Trip with Huell Howser episode that featured the university.

The event was hatched by Howser as a fundraiser for KVIE-Channel 6, which regularly airs Howser’s Road Trip show as well as his long-running travel show, California’s Gold.

As incentive, viewers who donated $150 per couple during the public broadcasting station’s spring pledge received tickets to have lunch with Howser at UC Davis’ Segundo Dining Commons, as well as a T-shirt, emblazoned with Howser’s iconic saying, “That’s amazing!” Plus, they got an opportunity to tour the same UC Davis points of interest that so impressed Howser in 2007.

The idea worked, and more than 500 viewers were quick to respond, providing $35,000 in support for public broadcasting. On campus, many units offered to open their doors for the big day, and the event soon grew to include 20 venues.

Educational experiences

For a Saturday, the campus was unusually alive with activity. Visitors registered at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, where they toured the Good Life Garden, sampled olive oils and viewed the Good Life Collection of campus products — olive oil and bath products, books, designer scarves, and wood bowls and vases, all available at the UC Davis Bookstore

Huell Howser Gunrock
UC Davis Mascot, Gunrock, proudly displays the T-shirt given to attendees during their visit to UC Davis.

Across the arboretum at the Cole Facility, people spent time with the horses and toured the meat laboratory. Children, including Kaitlin Wylie of Davis and her cousin Kyle Martin of Paradise, enjoyed feeding hay to the mares and petting the young foals.

At the Bohart Museum of Entomology, Professor Lynn Kimsey found that Howser was not the only celebrity on campus that day. One visitor told Kimsey that she had seen her on television and had to come just to meet her.

Kimsey and museum scientists Steve Heydon and Andrew Richards were busy answering questions about the hundreds of specimens in the museum and guiding visitors through the “petting zoo” of walking sticks and giant hissing cockroaches.

Showcased programmatic breadth

Other visitors to the Bohart Museum brought their own critters for identification, including a jelly jar of tiny snails, which Etta Thomas of Elk Grove had found swarming her garage door, and a spider that another visitor thought might be the invasive “brown widow” spider. Kimsey promised to share the specimens with colleagues for identification.

At the campus’s California Raptor Center on Old Davis Road, horse lovers Terry and Bill Rosier road in from Elk Grove on their motorcycle to view the birds before heading over to the horse barn.

‘He is so much fun’

Throughout the day, Howser was going non-stop at the Segundo Dining Commons, greeting guests and reminiscing over past episodes of California’s Gold.

“How’re y’all doing? Where are you all from? Let’s get a picture,” said Howser enthusiastically, as if each guest were the first he had met that day.

“Huell’s been going like this all morning,” said UC Davis executive chef Andy Burtis, after slipping yet another soda onto a table within Howser’s reach.

Burtis and Brennan Connolly, general manager of resident dining, said they added fish tacos — a favorite of Howser’s on his first campus visit — to the Saturday menu. They also called in all of the Segundo chefs and extra staff for the day. Following lunch and a visit with Howser, the visitors — many of whom found the UC Davis campus to be far bigger than expected — slowed down just a bit.

'Fuel for Huell'

Huell Howser Fuel
Huell Howser, who says his Tennessee roots make him more familiar with Jack Daniels whiskey than wine and beer, receives campus gifts from Mitchel Benson, associate vice chancellor for University Communications, and Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute. Photo by: Cheng Saechao/UC Davis

Some people found their way over to the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science for a tour of the LEED platinum brewery, winery, and food-processing facility.  The institute’s sensory theatre was the location for beer and wine presentations and tastings in the afternoon, offered by professors Charlie Bamforth and Andy Waterhouse. Bamforth’s energetic talk on beer was titled “Fuel for Huell.”

Attending the presentations were alumni Jay and Deb Greenwood, who found students to be remarkably friendly and helpful as they maneuvered their way around campus. The couple, who met in Voorhies Hall as students here, were intrigued by a presentation about native Hawaiian duck preservation at the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology.

Just before the wine presentation, Howser stepped into the sensory theatre to greet the visitors one last time and thank them for their participation. He noted that people frequently ask him if he’s running out of places to go and people to see. Quite the contrary, he assured everyone. “As we all know, we’re never going to run out … of California’s Gold,” said Howser as the exhausted but happy crowd joined in the chorus.

Read more about Huell Howser's 2007 visit to UC Davis on Road Trip with Huell Howser.

Robert Mondavi Institute Cosponsors UC Davis Wine Law Conference

(Adapted from a June 13, 2011, article by Debra McManis, On Reserve: A Wine Law Blog)

The first Wine Law Conference held at UC Davis June 2–4 proved to be an opus, a first masterwork, for the hosting UC Davis School of Law and its organizers at the School of International Education. Largely sponsored by the Robert Mondavi Institute, this three-day symposium reflected the educational spirit of the Mondavi family, icons in the world of wine who were among the first winegrowers to embrace the need for educating consumers about wine and food in America. Indeed, the conference successfully paired a series of rigorous panel discussions centered on EU–U.S. wine labeling laws with opportunities for enjoying fine wine and local California cuisine.

Food, Wine, and the Law

The success of this first event benefited from a host of well-organized culinary events and wine tours. On that note, there were three occasions that sparkled on account of cuisine, ambiance and group interest. The first high-note took place outdoors in the courtyard of the Robert Mondavi Institute, which featured a vibrant buffet of California cuisine, staged under the natural canopy of an olive grove. Lunch was followed with a tour of RMI’s legendary eco-winery, a facility that boasts a LEED platinum certification, led by Professor Roger Boulton. A stone’s throw away, the “teaching vineyards” reaffirmed UC Davis’s devotion to viticulture and provided a near-perfect setting for a symposium of this nature.

Wine Law Opus
Opus One Vineyard, Napa Valley

On Friday night, Mariacristina Oddero, winemaker and proprietor of the Oddero Estate and Winery located in the Piedmont Hills of northern Italy, presented a complex yet delicate Barolo Villero 2007 to complement our evening fare at Seasons. Earlier that day, Cristina had described the exceedingly high labor costs of manually picking the fragmented patchwork of terraced plantings that comprise her family holdings, adding even more depth to this wine. She also emphasized the “feminine print” that personifies her sixth-generation winery today, now that she and her sister share ownership.

On Saturday, a final crescendo included a grand tour of Opus One in Napa Valley, lead by none other than the winemaker himself, Michael Silacci. Despite heavy rainfall (it hadn’t rained on this date in the valley for over fifty years!), Michael’s dry wit kept the group on their toes as he guided us through his beloved winery (which was founded in part by Robert Mondavi, although the family is no longer involved). Michael finished strong with a generous pour of his 2007 vintage that left us speechless. On the road again, we travelled up-valley for more wine tasting and lunch in charming St. Helena. Onboard the UC Davis Aggie van, James Lapsley (a spry fellow with many talents; he was our Napa historian and acted as a panel moderator, as a leading expert in wine economics). Dr. Lapsley provided a personal back-story to the handful of labels we tasted and expressed a heart-felt conviction to take the conference to the next level in years to come. Likewise, assoc. dean of international education Beth Greenwood, and her secret weapon, Whitney Denning, were as warm as they were capable in organizing this two-prong event.

EU–U.S.  Labeling Laws in a Nutshell

The conference was organized into four moderated sessions, with eight panelists from Europe (Brussels, Germany, and Italy) and six from the U.S. (UC Davis, D.C., San Francisco, Stanford).  Several of the Italian participants were affiliated with the University of Turin, and collectively they strongly advocated on behalf of their national wine culture. In a word: terroir. The entire panel was comprised of international and domestic attorneys, government regulators, academics, importers and winegrowers. The symposium was titled, “Toward a Common Standard: New European Union Label Laws and Geographic Indicators of Origin.” Given that the EU and the U.S. represent the two leading power-houses in wine production and consumption, it is no wonder that the “EU–U.S. wine relationship is the most important issue for both sides,” according to Felix Bloch, the desk officer responsible for bilateral trade relations with the U.S., at the EU Commission, Brussels. Bloch explained that it was with an attitude of “harmonization” that the EU and U.S. signed the Wine Agreement of 2006 (a relationship that is “closer than ever, but still not that close.”) The agreement stresses “co-operation over confrontation” and stresses the need for both sides to abandon wine culture stereotypes: such as, Europe represents the “one true tradition of terroir” and the U.S. represents only “innovation and varietals.”  Moreover, new markets represent new values: for instance, terroir might be less relevant to Asian consumers. This to say, wine cultures, and markets, are hardly static, providing space for flexibility and growth. The market forecast from present to 2030 was characterized as being “highly transformative” as the future of wine is moving away from traditional places, according to Daniel Sumner (UC Davis, former USDA asst. sec. for Economics).

Wine Law GLG
Wine aroma wheel display, Robert Mondavi Institute, UC Davis.

To make the market more compatible, systems in labeling will have to move toward simplification and uniformity (for instance, the EU favors geographical designations and the U.S. prefers trademarks). Failing to bridge the gaps between the EU and U.S. labeling system will continue to strain trade channels, block potential markets, and confuse consumers. Appellations of origin are widely regarded as intellectual property and are protected under national and international laws. Additional conflict arises when overlapping systems of protection add to trading costs. Timothy Josling (Stanford) proposed “a multilateral register” as a viable solution.

It appears that Americans see the European laws as anti-competitive and a challenge for U.S. exports, characterized as a “moving target” by one panelist. Even so, Americans are “passionate about further discussions.” Meantime, the Europeans have long been frustrated with America’s reluctance to phase-out “semi-generic” labels (wine labels that are based on European wine regions, such as California Champagne). The EU Community also seeks more flexibility on vintage date labeling from our Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Even within the EU community, Germany for instance, there is internal confusion as to which labeling laws prevail: European or international.

A more effective labeling system could also deter imported wine fraud and heighten import diligence. In the scope of food safety, the detection of counterfeit labeling could prevent toxic or harmful wines from entering the food supply. Marco Musemeci (UNICRI) pressed authorities to view counterfeit foodstuffs as organized crime because they are essentially the same beast, with the profits of counterfeiting supporting human and illegal drug trafficking, among other serious crimes. This year alone, in China, Operation Bright Sword seized 30 tons of bulk counterfeit wine and more than 13.5 million fake bottles, caps and labels. With nearly 200 million dollars worth of wine sales per week in the U.S. alone, it is plain to see why label counterfeiting prevails in the wine sector.

Dairy Technology Day II Speakers Reveal Sustainable Approaches to Dairy Foods

By Suanne Klahorst

On June 7, RMI’s second Dairy Technology Day conference featured speakers with expertise in sustainable dairy, a topic that dominates social concerns about food production and nutrition worldwide. Industry and academics presented initiatives that bring the industry closer to their goals for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and returns on investments in improved efficiency.

Gail Barnes, Keynote speaker

Gail Barnes presented an overview of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy — a hub of activity for providing consumers with dairy products that “make the industry, people and the earth economically, environmentally and socially better.” The center is affiliated with the Dairy Research Institute, a nonprofit established in 2010 by Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI).  

Leadership for the center is provided by a Sustainability Council made up of 500 participants and stakeholders from industry that are organized into consortiums working to improve the supply chain through the use of indexing tools. A sustainable food laboratory shared by 70 stakeholders facilitates development of market-based solutions.

The U.S. fluid milk carbon footprint estimates that production of each gallon of fluid milk emits an average of 17.6 lbs of GHG (completed in 2010 from 2007–2008 data). The footprint will help the supply chain identify areas for improvement that can achieve a 25 percent reduction in GHG by 2020. A few areas capable of delivering reductions include cattle feed efficiency, distribution, packaging, energy use, and reducing long-distance milk hauling.  

Ermias Kebreab, Sesnon Endowed Chair in Sustainable Agriculture in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis, studies integrated farm systems and all their sources of GHG including cattle, manure, soil, and crops. A variety of changes in feed, genetics, and herd management could allow farmers to reduce methane from ruminating animals by 5 to 10 percent. Manure can be transformed from a problem to a resource if used to generate fuels. Nitrous oxide emitted from soils after the application of manure can be decreased.

To address the large number of variables implicit in the study of the whole farm system, computer-driven models were developed to predict the multiple outcomes of adopting new farm management practices. Sound decision-making requires that the whole farm system be considered when performing a life-cycle analysis for dairy products.

John Alby, general counsel at Leprino Foods, described his company’s efforts to reduce energy, implement alternative power sources, and reduce or reuse water in processing. A carbon footprint for cheese production is being developed by DMI to guide future planning. Emissions of pollutants to meet California air quality regulations are also important. Solid waste is being scrutinized for reuse and reduction and sites for new processing plants involve evaluating sustainable expansion.

DTD II Sensory
Dairy Technology Day II attendees in the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre.

J.P. Cataviela, Dairy Cares program coordinator, introduced the Dairy Cares program for farmers. Supported by dairy stakeholders, the program promotes environmental practices and proactive compliance, communications, and animal welfare. The goals are broadly defined as “doing what is right for the people and the planet,” and their activities address economic, social, and environmental concerns.

The program is a response to a new level of activism inspired by erroneous statements in the 2006 FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, that exaggerated dairy’s contribution to global GHG in relation to other sources. A Dairy Cares sustainability report was released in June 2010 and distributed to opinion leaders.

Pierre Merel, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute, said that 6 percent of California’s GHG emissions are due to agriculture. Dairy production is the largest contributor of methane, and field crops are the largest contributor of nitrous oxide. Economic models were developed at UC Davis to predict the significance of taxing nitrogen applications to soils as a deterrent to indiscriminant applications that increase nitrous oxide emissions.

Bruce German, professor and director of the Foods for Health Institute at UC Davis, envisioned how academics could adopt broader approaches to teaching and research in systems biology.  Health researchers are closer to understanding how milk evolved with human intestinal function to provide a 10 percent higher survival advantage to ancient societies with milk-based agriculture.  Likewise, studies of rumen function in dairy cattle may result in a more efficient cow that emits less methane gas.

Ongoing research to increase the value of milk is aimed at understanding how its bioactive components can be segregated and enriched for adding value beyond basic nutrition. German found it disconcerting to see milk selling for lower prices than bottled water in the Sacramento airport, indicating that its value to society is underestimated.

DTD II Joe John Nancy
From left, Joe O'Donnell, John Krochta and Nancy Auestad

Lowfat dairy foods are exceptionally dense in nutrients, according to Nancy Auestad of the Dairy Research Institute. Nutrition is important to eating sustainably, since all nutrition has an environmental impact, and three servings per day of dairy products provide the main source of nutrients of public health concern: calcium (75 percent), potassium (56 percent), and vitamin D (28 percent). If dairy’s nutritional density is considered, alternatives such as canned bony fish or three or more servings of cooked leafy greens per day look much less feasible. Average dairy intake is currently 1.8 servings per day, lower than the three servings recommended. Alternatives such as calcium-fortified orange juice come with more calories and higher cost for the same calcium intake.

Marta Van Loan, USDA Western Human Nutritional Research Center, studied dairy consumption and bone density during calorie-restricted diets. When calories were reduced by 500/day for 11 weeks, the human subjects that ate one or less serving of dairy per day versus 3-4 servings per day, lost significantly more bone density. The results indicate that if individuals had repeated bouts of dieting without calcium-rich foods, they would be more likely to increase their risk of osteoporosis.

Richard Cotta, president and CEO of California Dairies, Inc. (CDI), reviewed the role of farm audits to illustrate how CDI is implementing sustainable technologies and practices. John Krochta, holder of the UC Davis Shields Endowed Chair in Dairy Food Science, reviewed plans for equipping a food-processing laboratory that can meet industry objectives for student training and dairy research to achieve sustainable goals in nutrition, processing, and product innovation.

Institute Hosts the Documentary "Dinastia Vivanco"

By Leslie Butler and Jonathan Barker

As Robert McIntosh opines in his review of this film, “Every winery and wine family have a story to tell…” and Zev Robinson demonstrates his artistic skills in bringing to life the story of one of the more influential wineries and wine families of the La Rioja wine region in Spain.

Zev Robinson, born in Israel, educated in Canada and the UK, and currently living in the Valencia region of Spain, believes that, “Wine is often presented as a rarefied, even elitist drink, (but is usually) de-contextualized from its origins. There is a complex, interwoven fabric that goes into its productions…” Robinson does a masterful job of capturing that complex, interwoven fabric of Dinastia splendor of La Rioja, and the fervor and emotion of producing and consuming wine.

Dinastia Vivanco
From left, Leslie (Bees) Butler, Zev Robinson, Jonathan Barker, Brian Crowley and Julian Alston

“Dinastia Vivanco” chronicles the development of a family winery, today run by winemaker Rafael Vivanco and his brother Santiago Vivanco as the director of an associated wine museum and foundation. Founded in 1915 as a small family operation, the film traces the contributions made by each of the four generations to its development, and how that has contributed to and reflects the evolution of La Rioja as an important wine region.

Rafael and Santiago’s father, Pedro Vivanco, is the pivotal figure in the transformation of the business and played an important role in Rioja wine itself. As a teenager in the early ’60s, he started delivering wine from his parents’ winery by bicycle, then decided to go away to study winemaking, returning to become a major producer. Today, the winery markets wine from its own vineyards on an international scale.

“It is that excavation of the layers of history and culture that have gone into making wine,” says Robinson, “and the interweaving of the personal with the cultural (that) is part of the complexity of wine (and) sets it apart from manufactured products.”

About 80 people listened to Robinson and watched the film in the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre at the Robert Mondavi Institute on June 10. They later participated in tasting the wines of Dinastia Vivanco and chatted with the film director. We are hopeful that Zev Robinson will join us again in the future to screen and talk about more of his unique documentary style of storytelling about wine.

To preview the wine documentary:

Departments of Food Science and Technology and Viticulture and Enology Welcome New Leadership

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

On July 1, the departments of Food Science and Technology (FST) and Viticulture and Enology (V&E) at UC Davis each welcomed new department chairs.

Michael McCarthy
Dr. Michael McCarthy

The new chair of FST, Dr. Michael McCarthy, has been a faculty member in the departments of Food Science and Technology, and Biological and Agricultural Engineering since 1986. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees, respectively, in chemical engineering from the University of Florida (B.S.) and the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.).  McCarthy has also worked in industry as a process engineer (Shell Oil Company) and as a researcher (Nestlé Research Center, Vers-chez-les-Blanc, Switzerland; Aspect Imaging, Shoham, Israel; Paramount Citrus, Delano, Calif.).

McCarthy's research program is focused on real-time noninvasive measurement of food quality attributes, development of novel magnetic resonance imaging equipment for industrial process control, and experimental-based investigations of transport phenomena in food products and processing.  He joined the Center for Process Analysis and Control in 1996 as a principal investigator.  McCarthy succeeds James Seiber, who served as department chair since 2008.

David Block, who has acted as vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology since 2008, has been chosen to succeed Dr. Andrew Waterhouse as chair.  Dr. Block has a joint appointment in V&E and in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. He was the recipient of the UC Davis Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008, one of the most prestigious awards on the UC campus, recognizing consistent, exceptional teaching and dedication to the success of the university experience for all students.

David Block

Block was awarded the Chemical Engineering Professor of the Year Award in 2002 and was honored with the American Institute of Chemical Engineering Award for Chemical Engineering Excellence in Academic Training from the Northern California Section of AIChE.

In V&E, he teaches VEN135: Wine Technology and Winery Systems, which he and Dr. Roger Boulton have expanded to a full-quarter course. They are now able to discuss equipment and processing from the beginning of the winemaking process, through to bottling and waste leaving the winery. He recently included a quarter-long example of designing a winery, resulting in a nearly-complete winery design by the end of the class. This class also includes a trip to the Budweiser facility nearby to emphasize to his students the technology gap between current beer and wine production.

As is customary, McCarthy and Block will serve, respectively, as chair and co-chair of the Robert Mondavi Institute Executive Committee.  McCarthy will serve as chair for the 2011–2012 academic year.  

I very much look forward to their guidance and counsel as we continue to expand the outreach, research, and educational programs of the Robert Mondavi Institute.

Genentech Women Professionals Group Visit UC Davis

By Judy Kjelstrom and Clare Hasler-Lewis

Genetech Group
Director of the UC Davis Biotechnology program, Judith Kjelstrom (bottom, far left) and RMI executive director Clare Hasler-Lewis (bottom, far right) with the Genentech Women Professionals.

On July 19, Clare Hasler-Lewis and Judy Kjelstrom hosted a group of 30 female leaders from Genentech — one of the largest biotechnology companies in the world — to discuss leadership and mentoring as well as enjoy the beautiful facilities at the Robert Mondavi Institute. The Genentech Women Professionals’ Group (GWP) delivers strategic programs that cultivate an engaged, productive workforce with women from all levels in the company.

This event was an outgrowth of relationships established through Leadership California (, a women’s leadership organization. Gisela Paulsen, MPharm, senior director, Advisory and Thought Leader Services (ATLS) and GWP co-chair, is in the 2011 class of the California Issues and Trends Program.  She met Dr. Kjelstrom (class of 2008) in March, who in turn introduced her to Dr. Hasler-Lewis (class of 2009).  In order to build stronger ties with UC Davis, Paulsen decided to hold the GWP strategic planning meeting on campus.

Most of the day was spent in the beautiful Robert Mondavi Institute Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre. Kjelstrom provided an overview of the activities of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program, which was followed by a GWP Strategic Planning Session. Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, the luncheon speaker, shared her personal experiences about the challenges that women face when pursuing careers in male-dominated fields. She stressed that women need more female role models and mentors in order for them to excel in fields like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Katehi applauded the efforts of the GWP in taking on the role to be the educators and mentors to other women in the company and encouraged them to continue inspiring future female leaders. The chancellor shared some of the thoughts from the event on her Common Sense blog (

Genetech Katehi
Chancellor Linda Katehi (front, center), luncheon speaker

After lunch, a backstage tour of the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts was led by executive director Don Roth. This was followed by a tour of the Robert Mondavi Institute Teaching and Research Winery and Anheuser-Busch/InBev Brewery led by, respectively, Chik Brenneman (winery and vineyard manger) and Professor Charlie Bamforth (director of the UC Davis Brewing Program). Both men provided information on the state-of-the-art energy efficiency aspects of these LEED platinum facilities.

After the tours, the group returned to the RMI Sensory Theatre for entertaining, but scientifically-based talks by Hasler-Lewis on wine and olive oil and Bamforth on Beer. The relative health benefits of wine vs. beer provided a lively debate! The day ended with dinner at Seasons Restaurant featuring California wines selected by Hasler-Lewis. There is nothing like good food and fermented beverages to build lasting business relationships and enhance the quality of life!

Eighth Annual Event to Support Michael Bonaccorsi Endowed Scholarship at UC Davis

By Kathy Barrientes

From left, Clare Hasler-Lewis, Steve Wallace, Martha Stoumen, Jenne Lee Bonaccorsi and Jannis Swerman. Photo by: Alex Berliner

The Wally’s Wine and Spirits parking lot on Westwood Boulevard in Los Angeles was the location for the eighth annual Central Coast Wine and Food Celebration on July 31. But don’t let “parking lot” mislead you, as this was every epicurean’s dream afternoon of finding Central and Southern California’s finest wines and food under one tent!.

Steve Wallace, proprietor of Wally’s Wine and Spirits (voted the No. 1 wine store in Los Angeles by Zagat) graciously hosted this annual event along with a team of volunteers (Jenne Lee Bonaccorsi, Jannis Swerman, Patti Obermiller) to raise $50,000 for scholarship in support of UC Davis’ Michael Bonaccorsi Endowed Scholarship in the Department of Viticulture and Enology, and the Allen Hancock College in Santa Maria.

Shaded by tents and rocked by the Gary Burk Blues Band, over 500 guests enjoyed foods prepared by some of the finest restaurants in Southern California, including Bradley Lettau from The Hitching Post II, showcasing the art of Santa Maria; Mozza by Nancy Silverton and Matt Molina; Spago Beverly Hills; CUT; Lucques/A.O.C./Tavern; and the Hungry Cat, just to name a few.  

Guests’ palates were treated to an array of fine wine tastings from the Central Coast’s prized wineries including Au Bon Climat, Qupé, Hitching Post Wines, Alma Rosa, Core, Demetria, Dierberg, Field Recordings, Foxen, Jaffurs, Justin, Malibu Family, Talbott Talley, Tantara, Torero, and Whitcraft.  In addition, Fiji Water flowed along with microbrews from Firestone Walker Brewing Co. and Telegraph Brewing Co.

A silent auction featured collectible wine bottles signed by the winemakers, with pouring of their wines.

UC Davis and the Department of Viticulture and Enology would like to thank Wally’s for hosting this annual event and the Bonaccorsi family who established the Michael Bonaccorsi Endowed Scholarship following his untimely death in 2004 at the age of 43.  A native of Chicago, Bonaccorsi moved to California to learn more about wine and winemaking and after three years received the Master Sommelier Diploma.  Michael worked as sommelier for Wolfgang Puck and Spago Restaurant.

Michael’s memory, passion, and lifelong learning of wine and winemaking lives on at this event and at UC Davis through the many viticulture and enology student scholarship recipients, including this year’s recipient Martha Stoumen (pictured above).

Save the date for next year’s event: Sunday, August 5, 2012.

Axel Borg Receives James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

Axel Borg

Axel Borg, librarian subject specialist for viticulture and enology, food and nutrition, plant sciences, and other agriculture disciplines at the University of California, Davis, received the 2011 James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award. This award recognizes a distinguished career of achievement and is one of the most prestigious awards granted on the UC Davis campus. Borg’s valuable contributions to the mission of the university and his exceptional commitment to the campus community stand as an example to others. There will be a public award dinner held in his honor in November 2011 at which time the James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award plaque and a $1,000 honorarium will be presented to Borg.

The Robert Mondavi Institute has benefitted tremendously from Borg’s expertise over the years.  He is responsible for many of our significant publications including Our Story — a timeline (1880–2008) published for the 2008 grand opening of the academic buildings. Borg has also been a significant contributor to the RMI’s historical agriculture book series, which has produced three works to date and will produce a fourth in October. Borg is also a regular contributor to the quarterly RMI Wine and Food Bytes electronic newsletter.

Clare Hasler-Lewis, RMI executive director, stated that Axel Borg’s “breadth of knowledge is amazing, particularly in the areas of wine and food, and he has facilitated many contacts between our institute and key individuals in the literary world. We are proud of our long association with Mr. Borg and celebrate his contributions and service to the university and the greater community and look forward to our continued partnership with him.”

Congratulations to Carl R. Fellers Award Winner: Christine Bruhn

(Adapted from May, 2011 Phi Tau Sigma Newsletter)

Christine Bruhn

Dr. Christine Bruhn, Cooperative Extension specialist, University of California, Davis, received the 2011 Carl R. Fellers Award for service to the field of food science and technology and for bringing honor to the profession.

As the international authority on consumer attitudes toward food irradiation and other novel technologies, Bruhn presents overviews of food safety and risk to national and international audiences and encourages the scientific community to consider research-based perspectives of consumer attitudes. She has improved the food science profession through her service and leadership with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and the International Association for Food Protection, as well as her appointments to and consultation with state, national, and international agencies and organizations. She was appointed to the inaugural U.S. Food and Drug Administration Risk Communication Advisory Committee and is the only food sector representative. This committee shaped the FDA's strategic plan for risk communication and revised the food recall press release.

Bruhn's technical background, combined with her articulate, sensitive, and novel approach in delivering information using online videos and other social media networks, successfully conveys health and food safety messages that colleagues, legislators, and consumers can understand. Bruhn was elected an IFT Fellow in 2002.

William Ristenpart Honored by Chancellor and Provost

(Adapted from a July 1, 2011, article by Dave Jones, Dateline UC Davis)

Bill Ristenpart

Chancellor Linda Katehi and Provost Ralph Hexter threw what the provost described as an “A-list Hollywood” celebration, with 29 faculty members as the stars.  The occasion was the Early Career Awards Reception held on June 27 in the interior courtyard of the chancellor’s residence.

One of these stars was William Ristenpart, assistant professor in the Departments of Food Science and Technology and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.

Dr. Ristenpart uses high-speed video and electrochemical measurements to answer fundamental questions about electrically charged droplets in liquids. His work could have applications in a number of fields, including petroleum and food-oil processing, meteorology and manufacture of microchips.

“In case you haven’t noticed, there is no shortage today of faculty work that is highly promising, innovative and exciting”, Katehi said in her prepared remarks. “In fact, the ability to produce such work is usually an explicit requirement of employment at a major research university such as ours. No one gets in the door without having shown strong evidence of this potential.”

“The awards we are celebrating are not just a sign of what these individuals have accomplished — with talent, determination, creativity and risk taking – but also the strong promise of great accomplishments in years to come.”

She cited first-rate faculty research and its application around the globe as most responsible for UC Davis’ rapidly growing influence and prestige.

“Excellent faculty are the most basic and essential architectural elements of our university’s greatness,” she said. “They are the single most important determinant of our ability to fulfill our historic mission of excellence in teaching, research public service.

Hexter, a professor in the Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, said he could not agree more.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that, at this moment in history, our world is urgently in need of contributions not only from science, technology, mathematics and business, but also in the arts, humanities, social sciences, law and the other fields, as well,” the provost said.

Hexter echoed the chancellor in emphasizing the connection between “our faculty’s cutting-edge research and our ultimate institutional goal: improving lives and improving our world.”

“It’s because so much is at stake in what our faculty accomplish that, as provost, I see faculty issues as one of my top priorities.” He said. “These include, among other things, ensuring that we hire and retain the most-promising distinguished individuals; and ensuring that, while here, they have what they need to excel and thrive.”

The National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award,  supports junior faculty who exemplify teacher-scholars through their research, teaching and integration of the two.

In Brief

Darrell Corti Visits Palermo, Venice and Northern Italy

Darrell Corti was invited to attend two wine trade events sponsored by Winett Taste & Trade and the Instituto Regionale Della Vite E Del Vino of Sicily. Esther Ritter and Rick Minderman tagged along, capturing images and videos in the only style possible when travelling with Corti. Over 95 videos, 317 pictures, and countless moments with Corti can be enjoyed by visiting the blog on the trip; you can also read what the L.A. Times Food Editor, Russ Parsons had to say, as well as what was printed in the Sacramento Bee.

FSGSA Annual Fundraising Garage Sale – Saturday, September 10th

The Food Science Graduate Student Association (FSGSA) at UC Davis will hold an annual garage sale to raise funds for guest speakers, tours of local food companies, and to host fun events like the Food Championship and Iron Chef-style competition. All are encouraged to support. Join the FSGSA on Saturday, September 10, from 8:00 a.m. to noon at 1314 Oak Avenue in Davis. If you wish to donate items or have additional questions, please contact Ali Schultz at For additional information on FSGSA, please visit

FST Researchers featured in Quest’s TV Show, “The Science and Art of Cheese”

The Department of Food Science and Technology’s own Mike McCarthy and Kyria Boundy-Mills were interviewed on KVIE’s science TV show, QUEST, which aired on KQED on May 18. The episode, entitled “Cheese,” covered how cheese, which has been with us for thousands of year,  comes in more than 2,000 varieties — hard, soft, fresh, and aged. Take a journey to Cowgirl Creamery in west Marin to learn how artisan cheese is made and how scientists are putting cheese under the microscope to gain new insights about this incredible, edible food. Two videos are available: The Science of Cheese and Web Extra the Terroir of Cheese.

Student Travel Scholarships awarded to Louise Lee and Caitlin Hickey

Graduate students Louise Lee and Caitlin Hickey, Department of Food Science and Technology  at UC Davis, attended the Annual Meeting of the International Association of Food Protection in Milwaukee, Wis. last month. They were each awarded a student travel scholarship from the California Association of Dairy and Milk Sanitarians for their research presentations, “Consumer Response to New Methods of Washing Produce” (by Caitlin Hickey and Christine Bruhn) and “Consumer Attitudes Toward Food Safety in Asian and Mexican Restaurants” (by Louise Lee, Christine Bruhn, and Amarat Simonne). The travel scholarships provide funding for full-time students to attend the annual meeting (including symposia and technical sessions) of the International Association of Food Protection and to encourage developing scientists to participate in association activities. For additional information:

Upcoming Events


Contributors to "RMI Wine and Food Bytes"

  • Patricia 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,
  • Jonathan Barker, U.C. Agricultural Issues Center and Center for Wine Economics, UC Davis, (530) 752-2320,
  • Kathy Barrientes, director of major gifts, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, (530) 752-1602,
  • Leslie (Bees) Butler, Cooperative Extension specialist and lecturer, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis, (530) 752-3681,
  • Ann Filmer, director of communications, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, (530) 754-6788,
  • Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, UC Davis, (530) 754-6349,
  • Dave Jones, editor, Dateline, UC Davis, (530) 752-6556,
  • Judy Kjelstrom, director, UC Davis Biotechnology Program, (530) 752-8228,
  • Suanne Klahorst, grant writer, Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis, (530) 752-2232,
  • Susan Leonardi, wine columnist, The Davis Enterprise,
  • Debra A. McManis, writer and agricultural historian,