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E-news #029: Winter 2012

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In this Issue


Executive Director’s Update

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

CMHL_headshotSpring seems to have come quickly this year. Although warm, sunny days in February are wonderful—our crops desperately need rain!

Something else that is approaching quickly is the inaugural Mondavi Gala on Saturday, March 17. After two years of planning, this much-anticipated event is almost here. We are thrilled that Michael Chiarello will be the celebrity chef for the gala dinner in the courtyard at the Robert Mondavi Institute. The dinner, complete with pairings of exceptional California wines, will follow the U.S. premiere of Ballet Preljocaj’s Blanche Neige, a lavish retelling of the Snow White story from France. It is fitting to have Chef Chiarello, a Napa Valley resident who values fine food, as part of a sustainable lifestyle. Join us for this tribute to the vision and generosity of Robert and Margrit Mondavi. It has for many years been the Mondavis’ passion to enhance the quality of life by encouraging a melding of wine, food and the arts, as they have done here at UC Davis. Proceeds from the gala will benefit graduate studies at the Robert Mondavi Institute and artistic programming at the Mondavi Center.

Another way UC Davis enhances our quality of life is through the visual arts. The artistic legacy of the campus will be further enhanced by a new art museum made possible through a $10 million gift from Jan Shrem, proprietor of Clos Pegase winery in Napa Valley, and his wife and arts patron Maria Manetti Farrow. The museum is slated for completion in 2015.

Plans are moving forward for the Jess Jackson Sustainable Winery Building. Charles Pankow Builders, headquartered in Pasadena, Calif., have been chosen as the design build team. The Jackson Sustainable Winery Building is designed to support the adjacent LEED Platinum Teaching and Research Winery and August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory. The 8,000-sq.-ft. building will house innovative equipment and processes to demonstrate 21st century winemaking techniques and allow the brewery and winery facility to become self-sustaining in water and energy positive. The new winery building is expected to be completed in early 2013—another opportunity to celebrate UC Davis’ leadership in sustainability.

Enjoy the beautiful spring-like weather!



Fundraising Update

By Kathy Barrientes

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science “Friends” program continues to welcome new members and has provided the much needed unrestricted support to fund the operational costs of the RMI and the many different outreach programs and events focused on wine, brewing and food sciences. The RMI also received its second donation of $5,000 from the Julia Childs Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts that will support another public outreach and education program. Last year the Julia Child Foundation sponsored an all-day program devoted entirely to the history, culture, and health surrounding “honey”. We thank the generosity of the foundation to our program and to the spirit of Julia Child which lives on through her recipes. We celebrate the passion that she and Robert Mondavi shared for “enhancing life through wine and food!”

The Robert Mondavi Institute Endowment continues to grow with an additional $5,000 gift from Doug and Juli Muhleman. The total RMI Endowment is $460,000 with a goal of $2 million, of which half will be matched by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office. For more information about giving to the RMI Endowment matching challenge and other giving and planned-giving inquiries, please contact Kathy Barrientes, director of major gifts, (530) 752-1602,

“Friends of the RMI” Program Welcomes New Members

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

A warm welcome to the newest members of the “Friends of the RMI” program:

Friends of RMIFriends

Murray and Laura Baria
Abel and Kathy Barrientes
Russell and Stephanie Johnson
Geerat and Edith Vermeij
Travie and Janet Westlund

Sustaining Members

Maynard Skinner and Cristy Jensen

Director’s Circle Members

Bob and Susan Silva

We greatly appreciate your support of our outreach and education programs! For more information about the benefits associated with the Friends of the RMI Program and how to join, please visit:

Napa Vintner Donates $10 Million for New Museum of Art at UC Davis

(Adapted from a December 16, 2011 press release by Karen Nikos, UC Davis News Service)

The University of California, Davis, has received a $10 million gift to name a new art museum that will serve as a teaching and cultural resource for the region and provide opportunities to share the university's artistic legacy, enhance its fine arts collection, and create new partnerships and collaborations.

Slated for completion in 2015, the museum will be named for donor Jan Shrem, proprietor of Clos Pegase winery in Napa Valley, and his wife and arts patron Maria Manetti Farrow.

Maria Manetti Farrow and Jan Shrem

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Farrow Museum of Art will provide approximately 40,000 square feet of contemporary space for galleries, seminars, research, and public gatherings. It will also house the university's fine arts collection, which contains more than 4,000 works of art including works by former art department faculty such as Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest, and William T. Wiley.

The museum, part of a long-range master plan for the university's new south entrance, will be constructed on a 1.6-acre site adjacent to the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, the UC Davis Conference Center, and Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. Hall, home of the university's Graduate School of Management.

"The museum will build upon the university's long tradition of excellence in the arts, serve as a source of rich learning opportunities for our students, and provide inspiration to generations of artists," said Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. "We are very grateful for this extraordinary commitment and for Jan and Maria's vision and partnership in the creation of a museum of art at UC Davis."

Shrem has always held a deep passion for making great art widely accessible, which is reflected in his famous Clos Pegase winery. The signature building, designed by renowned architect Michael Graves, features a collection of nearly 1,000 works by Henry Moore, Richard Serra, Mark Di Suvero, and others.

Born in Colombia of Jewish-Lebanese heritage, Shrem grew up in Jerusalem and moved to the U.S. as a teenager. After studying at UCLA, he built a successful publishing business in Japan, studied enology at the University of Bordeaux and later created the 450-acre wine estate, Clos Pegase. Shrem is now a member of the Director's Circle for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and serves on the board of the Family Winemakers of California.

"After our dear friend, Margrit Mondavi, introduced the idea of the new museum, we decided it would be an honor to join her in supporting this extraordinary university and in sharing its vision for the future," Shrem said. "Our philosophy of giving rests on simple concepts: We believe that education and the arts should be accessible to all people. And we believe that a curious and open mind should be nurtured and supported. Fortunately, the project at UC Davis has introduced us to people who profoundly share this philosophy. It is with deepest pleasure that we are able to help bring this new museum to life."

An international businesswoman, Manetti Farrow was born in Italy and moved to the U.S. in 1973, making her home in Northern California. In the 1980s, Manetti Farrow revolutionized the high-end accessory market by creating and managing U.S. and Canadian distribution for premium leather goods by designers such as Gucci, Fendi, and Mark Cross.

Manetti Farrow is a grower and collector of fine wines and produces premium balsamic vinegar and award-winning olive oils served at some of the finest restaurants in the country. She is involved in numerous philanthropic, civic and performing arts organizations in San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Florence, London, Paris, and St. Petersburg.

"Both Jan and I came to this country as young people, more or less the same age as the students at UC Davis," Manetti Farrow said. "And we both remember what it was like to begin life all over again in a new world where education was our salvation and the arts were our greatest joy. Everything that is being planned for the new museum of art suggests it will become an integral part of the university, the curriculum, and the community. We also believe it will become the heart of the campus, a place where people can come to study, to learn, to look, and to be moved by the beauty and strength of the arts."

Mondavi has been a champion of the art museum project at UC Davis. "The excellent teaching artists of the past, the prominent faculty at UC Davis today, and the impressive collection of renowned California artists deserve a great home for art, which is an ongoing love affair of my life," Mondavi said. "I'm thrilled that my friends Jan and Maria are joining me in fulfilling the dream of a new art museum for this great university."

According to Jessie Ann Owens, dean of UC Davis' Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, the museum could fuel new academic programs for students such as museum studies, curatorial and preservation studies, and also house a scholarly archive of artists' papers and materials that would be invaluable in the study of art and artists.

Dean Owens added, "Both Jan and Maria have demonstrated a love for the arts throughout their lives. They understand what a university art museum can do and will do at UC Davis, to be a living educational resource, and a place for the public to enjoy."

Wayne Thiebaud, painter and professor emeritus of art at UC Davis, emphasized the value of the museum for students. "A university museum will allow students to experience works of art first-hand in a way that is not possible with reproductions," he said. "It is this kind of experience that is essential to the university's teaching mission. As a teacher, I am delighted to know that this gift will make the museum a reality."

The contribution allows the university to begin the design phase of the $30 million construction project and spurs fundraising efforts for the museum. Half of the total construction costs, $15 million, will be funded by private philanthropic gifts. Including the Shrem gift, $12.1 million has been raised to date. The university will use tax-exempt bond financing for the remaining $15 million, which will be paid from campus funds such as short-term interest earnings. The university will not use student tuition, student fees, or state funds for construction of the museum. UC Davis plans a campaign to raise between $5 million and $20 million in additional private gifts for the museum, including an endowment to support museum programs.

Shrem's gift will be counted as part of The Campaign for UC Davis, a university-wide initiative launched in 2006 to inspire 100,000 donors to contribute $1 billion in support of the university's mission and vision. To date, $749 million has been raised from 85,000 donors. The gift is one of the largest ever received for the arts at UC Davis, and is the largest gift received to date by the College of Letters and Science. It is the fourth-largest cumulative gift from an individual donor to The Campaign for UC Davis, and the sixth-largest gift from any donor to the campaign.

David Mills Appointed the Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair in Dairy Food Science

(Adapted from the Department of Food Science and Technology website)

David Mills

The Department of Food Science and Technology is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor David Mills to the Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair in Dairy Food Science. Dr. Mills has over 20 years of experience working in the area of food microbiology. His research has focused on the ecology and molecular biology of lactic acid bacteria found in foods and in the intestine. In the last decade, Mills led the Lactic Acid Bacteria Genomics Consortium Project, which resulted in a seminal comparative analysis and release of key genome sequences of food-grade lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. More recently with Bruce German and Carlito Lebrilla, Mills formed the UC Davis Functional Glycomics Program, which has become a very successful multidisciplinary effort to characterize the intersection of milk glycans, probiotics and intestinal health.

The Peter J. Shields Chair was established to attract and sustain outtanding dairy food science scholars in the Department of Food Science and Technology. The Shields Chair provides the occupant with opportunities to conduct exemplary research, teaching and interaction with the dairy food industry. These contributions may be made in any of the disciplines important to dairy food science, such as biochemistry, chemistry, engineering, microbiology, nutrition, or interdisciplinary areas of food science and technology.

Andrea Thompson Joins RMI as Industry Relations Manager

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

Andrea Thompson

I am very pleased to announce that Andrea Thompson joined the RMI team in December as industry relations manager. Thompson will manage all industry relations activities, including organizing industry tours, serving as industry relations manager for the RMI Industry Partnership Program and managing the board of executives. Andrea has been working at UC Davis since 2010 with the departments of Food Science and Technology, and Viticulture and Enology managing their respective external industry advisory boards, the Food Science Leadership Board and the Board of Visitors and Fellows.

Hailing from Seattle, Thompson has a bachelor’s degree in English writing from Western Washington University and a minor in industrial design. After working in marketing in the action-sports industry for a number of years, Thompson pursued her passion for food of wine by attending The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, so she could combine that education with her previous work in print production, marketing, and writing.

Her culinary career has included work as a recipe tester on Sara Moulton’s first cookbook, work in education and new media at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone, managing the test kitchen at Williams-Sonoma’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco, freelance recipe development, producing food segments for a local television show, and as a regular contributor to Sacramento magazine’s food section. She’s excited to join the RMI, as her work will contribute to her lifelong goal of educating and exciting others about food, wine, and cooking.

We are thrilled to have Andrea Thompson as the RMI industry relations manager.

Markham Elementary Second Graders Tour RMI

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

Markham Elementary

Since the opening of the LEED Platinum winery, brewery, and food processing facility, the institute has become a very popular tour destination for people of all ages. On December 12, the RMI hosted tours of the facility for over 150 second-grade students, teachers, and chaperones from Markham Elementary School in Vacaville, Calif. The objective of the institute tour was to expose them to higher education at a young age to encourage them to attend university.

For additional information on touring the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, please visit:

Uncorked Continues to Thrill Donors

By Kim Bannister

The collaboration between the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and the Robert Mondavi Institute to celebrate Robert and Margrit Mondavi’s legacy at UC Davis continues to please donors who are treated to fine wines provided by a variety of well-known California wineries.

We wish to express our sincerest thanks to J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, David Girard Vineyards, Ceja Vineyard, Boeger Winery, Truchard Vineyards, Robert Mondavi Winery, Honig Vineyard and Winery and Silverado Vineyards who shared their wines during the 2011–2012 Uncorked season.

Donors to the Robert Mondavi Institute who wish to attend an Uncorked event should contact Clare Hasler-Lewis,, for more information.

Upcoming Uncorked Event Dates:

Second Annual "Art of Food and Wine" a True Gastronomic Delight

By Clare Hasler-Lewis


Cafe’ Americain in Old Town Sacramento, owned by Mike and Natalya Wahba, opened in 2009. It is the area’s first and only Champagne & Caviar House, featuring an exotic blend of Nouveau California Cuisine with subtle hints of Euro-Asian influence; including vegan raw food recipes and classic caviar appetizers from the imperial Russian Court. Executive chef Natalya Wahba believes in using only the freshest local, organic, sustainable ingredients. It’s all about exciting flavors, fresh ingredients and nutritional balance.

On Saturday November 29th, the Institute partnered with Café American for the second annual Art of Food and Wine. The highlight of the evening was a guided tasting of nine world-class Single Malts led by Val Zhoglo of JVS Wine and Spirit Imports of San Francisco. Darrel Corti, owner of Corti Brothers Grocer and member of the RMI Board of Executives was also there to share his vast wisdom (did you know you are not supposed to swirl spirits when tasting?).

A few of the scotches were paired with chocolates made specifically for the event by
Nuubia Chocolat’s maître chocolatier chef Lionel Clement. Owned by Alexandra Saunders, this brand new family-owned company recently received the "2011 Chocolatier of the Year" award. Only precious ingredients which are humanely and sustainably sourced with respect for the environment, animals, and people are used. One of the chocolates contained Pure Nacional, a variety of cacao that was thought to be extinct, and was recently rediscovered in Peru. It is thought to be the rarest chocolate in the world.

The evening concluded with music by Crescent Katz Quintet playing Prohibition era jazz and swing music.


Olive Center Hosts Extra Virginity World Book Release

By Nicole Sturzenberger

California’s olive oil industry and the UC Davis Olive Center have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and CBS News in recent weeks. National media attention will likely continue with the release of author Tom Mueller’s new book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. The book’s worldwide release was hosted by the UC Davis Olive Center on November 29, attracting 170 attendees.

Tom Mueller

Mueller is an investigative journalist who wrote a 2007 expose in The New Yorker on fraud in the world olive oil trade. The article garnered worldwide attention, and Mueller decided to delve further into the topic, producing a full-length book.

At the release, Mueller explained that when originally assigned the topic of olive oil he had no idea it would uncover such a world of corruption and scandal with ties even to Italy’s former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Mueller also expressed his desire to continue writing about the subject and has created a website ( where he will continue to share information that he uncovers on olive oil.

The event was attended by California State Senator Lois Wolk who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Olive Oil Production and Emerging Products.

Mueller’s talk was followed by a book signing and a reception featuring appetizers and quality olive oils from California and beyond. The book has been rising on the sales charts, and was named by Amazon as one of the best books released in December. Buy Extra Virginity at the UC Davis Bookstore.

Food Industry Pros Attend Napa Valley Seminar on Olive Oil Quality

(Adapted from January 15, 2012 Olive Oil Times article written by Curtis Cord)


Culinary Institute of America vice president Greg Drescher opened the Olive Oil Flavor and Quality Seminar in St. Helena Thursday by saying olive oil was poised for the greatness achieved by other foods like coffee, premium cheeses and chocolate, but would first need to break away from old ways of thinking.

“Many other food products, even in these difficult economic times, are operating in a space that rewards and promotes quality, innovation, and upward pricing strategies,” Drescher said before a sold-out amphitheatre of 150 food industry professionals at the CIA’s stunning Napa Valley campus.

“Olive oil wants to follow this same growth curve in quality, but as we will learn today, sometimes forward progress is undermined by tired, old paradigms of doing business.”

“I am firmly convinced, however, that olive oil is poised for a new chapter,” he added, “one that will captivate the imagination of chefs, retailers, and consumers alike; a new story about incredible flavors hidden in plain view.”

Drescher’s statement set the tone for a fast-paced day of presentations and discussion that was perhaps less unique for its messages than for its audience.

Jointly produced by the Culinary Institute and the UC Davis Olive Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute, the conference lineup featured the regular cast from the Association 3E Beyond Extra Virgin conferences — the olive oil quality think tank that includes Drescher, Dan Flynn, Claudio Peri, Aris Kefalogiannis, Paolo Pasquali, Rosa Vañó, Paul Bartolotta, Alexandra Devarenne, Tom Mueller, and others.

But while last summer’s BEV conference in Córdoba played to an audience of mostly producers, politicians, and journalists, this week’s show was directed to a group of professionals further down the supply chain who make olive oil buying decisions for retailers and food service industries.

Unable to resist such a rare opportunity to address the people who stand between them and consumers who only know the taste of bad olive oil, some presenters made their points in the form of a harsh scolding.

In years of facing buyers throughout the world for Australia’s Cobram Estate, Ashley Read caused at least a few uncomfortable shifts in the audience when he recalled “just two who actually opened the bottle and tasted the oil inside,” and suggesting it was time for buyers to “get serious about what the olive oil is and what you want your customers consuming.”

Read’s frustration is understandable. Cobram Estate is heralded as one of the world’s most efficient and well-run olive oil producers. Yet facing competition from subsidized, lower quality and often mislabeled imports, the leading Australian olive oil company is fighting for its life. The second-biggest producer, Kailis Organic, declared bankruptcy in November.

A number of presenters again made the case for the use of newer olive oil quality testing methods known as PPP and DAG, which have been shown to do a better job identifying olive oils that don’t deserve the extra virgin grade. Australian Paul Miller, who has been spending the last few months meeting with New World producer associations to form what he calls a “Global Quality Alliance,” told the audience “If your suppliers know you will periodically take the product off the shelf and test it, they will lift their game.”

CIA tasting

The program wasn’t all about good versus evil. Culinary Institute instructor Bill Briwa and award-winning chef Paul Bartolotta teamed up for culinary demonstrations that were captivating, and yet somehow kept within the day’s rigidly-timed schedule. Between sessions, attendees were treated to the same dishes, prepared in the Culinary Institute kitchens by an army of paring knife-wielding protégés.

There was also guidance for olive oil retailers in a rapid-fire presentation by Liz Tagami, who offered demographic support for why olive oil deserved their closest attention, followed by practical merchandising suggestions.

And there was plenty of olive oil tasting, guided by such noted experts as Paul Vossen, Alexandra Devarenne, and Nancy Harmon Jenkins. Twenty-one oils were tasted throughout the day ranging from the same supermarket brands implicated in the now-famous UC Davis tests, to fresh juice from Tuscany, Greece, and local Napa Valley mills. The experience left a bad taste with the audience though, since the last oil tasted was one of those meant to illustrate rancidity. Ending on a bad note surprised more than a few, who were left longing for one more palate-cleansing apple slice.

There was also the notable participation by the North American Olive Oil Association’s chairman, John Sessler, who spoke about his organization’s quality initiatives and testing programs — statements that drew rolling eyes and a few audible snickers from some of the home-field California producers. But privately some participants saw the presence of the NAOOA and other importers as a positive step toward opening a meaningful dialogue about olive oil quality with those responsible for the lion’s share of what’s on store shelves.

Most would agree the seminar achieved its objectives, which Olive Center director Flynn said were to demystify olive oil, help buyers make more informed decisions and foster quality. Attendees said they left the conference with a stronger appreciation for olive oil quality issues — a better understanding, organizers hope, that will lead to better olive oil options for consumers.

Institute Celebrates the World of Chocolate

By Clare Hasler-Lewis

Chocolate Lionel

The wonderful world of chocolate was explored on Saturday, February 4 at the Robert Mondavi Institute. And what a wonderful day it was. The morning session in the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre featured master chocolatier Lionel Clement of Nuubia Chocolat, who constructed a gorgeous one-of-a-kind showpiece made entirely of chocolate.

Participants watched in awe as Chef Clement assembled the piece over the course of 2 1/2 hours. He was assisted by Karl Peters, regional manager of Swiss Chalet Fine Foods, who also fielded questions from the audience as the chef concentrated on his masterpiece. Amazing! Peters stated that, “Swiss Chalet Fine Foods and Felchlin are proud to be associated with the Robert Mondavi Institute and all it stands for.” The entire process was captured on video an excerpt of which will be uploaded to the RMI website in the near future.

Chocolate sculpture

The afternoon program was equally enjoyable, educational, and a complete delight to the senses. In addition to excellent lectures by UC Davis professor Carl Keen on The Potential Health Benefits of Cacao, Mars Inc. chocolate history research director Rodney Snyder on Chocolate Making: From Art to Science to Artisan, and Nuubia Chocolate CEO Alexandra Saunders on The Precious Cacao and Sustainability, there were numerous chocolate-tasting stations, including Earthquake Zinfandel paired with Hershey’s American Heritage chocolate, and a variety of Sudwerk Brewery beers paired with Hershey’s Whoppers malted milk balls.

The University Library Special Collections Department provided a glimpse of several rare books on chocolate, including Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma’s Chocolate Inda, published in 1644.

The afternoon program concluded with a guided tasting of wines (UC Davis Oakville Cabernet, Spencer Hill’s Zinfandel from Dry Creek Vineyard, and Mumm Brut Rose) and samplings of Nuubia Chocolate led by UC Davis professor emeritus Ann Noble, inventor of the Wine Aroma Wheel, Julie Schreiber, who is consulting winemaker for PWG, and Alexandra Saunders.

Events such as this would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors:

UC Davis



For additional information on sponsorship, please contact: Clare Hasler-Lewis, (530) 754-6349,

Sixth Annual Vintners Hall of Fame Celebration

By Kathy Barrientes and Clare Hasler-Lewis


The sixth annual Vintner’s Hall of Fame celebration was held at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone, in St. Helena on February 20. Inductees are selected by a panel of more than 75 national wine writers, critics, and historians.

Those honored this year were: Joe Heitz (1919–2000) who started a successful Napa Valley wine business in 1961 and first created a legendary single-vineyard cabernet sauvignon from grapes grown by Tom and Martha May; Eugene Hilgard (1833–1916), who joined the College of Agriculture at UC Berkeley and created the nation’s first unit devoted to viticulture and enology; Myron Nightingale (1915–1988) who was well-known for his botrytized Semillon wine that he and his wife Alice produced in the 1960s, and resurrected Beringer Winery when Nestle bought it in 1971; John Parducci, who was the first to label varietals in Mendocino County, including Zinfandel in 1944; Richard Sanford, who was the first to plant Pinot Noir vineyards in Santa Barbara County; Albert Winkler (1894–1989), who joined the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis in 1921 and served as department chairman from 1933 to 1957; and Peter Mondavi, Sr., who at 97, was the oldest living inductee. Mondavi’s family has owned the Napa Valley’s oldest winery, St. Helena’s Charles Krug Winery since 1943; he has worked at the winery for 68 years. Professor Roger Boulton accepted awards on behalf of professors Winkler and Hilgard.

Part of the annual ceremony includes the unveiling of a bronze sculpture of the inductees—crafted by renowned artist Lawrence Ne

Vintner Vernon Singleton
Vernon Singleton next to a bronze sculpture in his likeness

wlan—which is displayed on the historic 2,200-gallon redwood wine barrels in the former Christian Brothers' Barrel Room. Each plaque includes a biography of the inductee, capturing that person's unique accomplishments and role in making California one of the most legendary places in the world for fine wine. This year Dr. Vernon Singleton, who retired in 1991 after almost 35 years in UC Davis' Department of Viticulture and Enology, and was inducted in 2011, was honored with the unveiling of his sculpture.

This sixth annual gala event began with a welcoming reception featuring California wines served at the White House state dinners with hors d’oeuvre from those menus. After the induction ceremony, guests were treated to a celebrity walk-around dinner in the CIA culinary teaching kitchens paired with wines from the members of the Vintners Hall of Fame. Celebrity chefs included Congressman Mike Thompson, whose pork loin was fabulous, along with former White House chef and CIA graduate Walter Scheib.

In Brief

Clare Hasler-Lewis Receives CAST President’s Award

Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute, received the President’s Award from the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) in September 2011 in Davis, California. The award was presented in the presence of Dean Neal Van Alfen and selected members of the CAST board of directors.

The President’s Award is an honor that recognizes those individuals who have furthered the cause of agriculture, science, and technology in a world dependent on all three disciplines. The CAST board of directors identifies and approves the names of those chosen as recipients, and the award is presented by the CAST executive vice president and one or more members of the CAST board.

The bronze medallion — crafted by respected artist Jerry Palen — adds a unique touch to the award. The inscription reads: “Sun, Earth, Water, Mankind. In synergy with science and technology to create a sustainable world supported by plants and animals.” The most recent previous recipients of the CAST President’s Award were Senator Mike Johanns (Nebr.) and Congressman Colin Peterson (Minn.).

Assistant Professor Maria Marco Awarded Funding

Maria Marco, assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology, was recently awarded funding by the USDA AFRI Function and Efficacy of Nutrients Program to continue her work investigating probiotic Lactobacillus and the relationships between probiotic function and health. Probiotics are defined as living microorganisms that, when consumed in sufficient amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Probiotic Lactobacillus strains incorporated into foods and beverages are increasingly associated with a variety of health benefits.

In the USDA funded project, Dr. Marco’s research on probiotic Lactobacillus will focus on the tripartite interactions between probiotics, diet, and probiotic food carrier matrices which influence probiotic effects on gastrointestinal health and intestinal inflammation. The significance of the host diet and carrier matrix on the persistence, gene expression, and immunomodulatory capacities of probiotic Lactobacillus will be studied. Outcomes of this project are important for designing food products which take into account interactions between the host diet, dietary bacteria, and the indigenous gut microbiota on intestinal homeostasis. For more information on Marco’s research, visit her lab’s webpage.

2011 Holiday Repeal Party

On December 2, 2011, the departments of Food Science and Technology, and Viticulture and Enology, along with the Robert Mondavi Institute celebrated the holidays and the repeal of Prohibition. This annual celebration brought together the faculty, staff, and students who work and learn together for an evening filled with delicious food and great friends. A silent auction that raised over $1,500 for the students, which will be used for culinary workshops and excursions to learn more about fields they study.

Beer Beats Sex

With beer being an integral part of many students’ college experience, it comes as no surprise that “Food Science and Technology 3: Introduction to Beer and Brewing” has emerged as this year’s winner for best general education class, as voted by the UC Davis community. Rounding out second and third place were “Human Development 12: Human Sexuality” and “Nutrition 10: Discoveries and Concepts in Nutrition.” To read the full article, please visit: Best General Education Course.

Highly Successful Unified Wine and Grape Symposium Reception

The UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology hosted a reception for alumni, students, faculty, and friends at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento on January 25, 2012. More than 12,000 wine industry professionals from around the world attended the symposium.

The UC Davis event took place at the Hyatt, just across from the convention center and had more than 150 people in attendance. It was a great opportunity for current students to meet alumni working in the wine industry and for faculty to catch up with former students. In addition, it gave everyone who attended the opportunity to meet some new faces in the Department of Viticulture and Enology: Anita Oberholster (Cooperative Extension specialist in enology) and Karen Block (industry relations manager). The new department chair, Dave Block was in attendance, as well, to welcome all who stopped by. The event was so well attended that next year’s reception will require a bigger space.

Twelfth Annual Winkler Dinner

Join the students and faculty of the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology on May 19, 2012, for the twelfth annual Winkler Dinner at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. The dinner is known for exquisite wine and food pairings, accompanied by live and silent auctions. By attending, you support student activities, including educational wine tastings, alumni events, immersion trips to various wine regions and international scholarships for graduating students. Please visit: to register.


Upcoming Events


Contributors to "RMI Wine and Food Bytes”

  • Kathy Barrientes, director of major gifts, UC Davis, (530) 752-1602,
  • Kim Bannister, program representative, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, UC Davis, (530) 752-5171,
  • Curtis Cord, executive editor, Olive Oil Times,
  • 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,
  • Karen Nikos, public information representative, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-6101,
  • Nicole Sturzenberger, assistant director, Olive Center, UC Davis, (530) 754-9301,