Viticulture and Enology

VEN 127: A New Course in Post-Fermentation Processing

July 20, 2018

This past spring quarter we offered a new course that we hope will one day be a regular part of the curriculum.  In this course, students took wine made in the fall and finished it through packaging in our Teaching and Research Winery.  We have always taught VEN 124, Wine Production, which allows our students to gain valuable hands-on experience in the winery (see May 2018 Newsletter), but this is the first time that we have been able to offer students the hands-on experience of blending, fining, aging, filtering, and packaging their own wines to supplement what they learn in their Wine Tec

New, modern vineyard planted at Oakville Station

July 16, 2018

The Oakville Station is a getting a boost from redevelopment.  As the vines from previous research studies matured, and as industry needs have changed, we have started redeveloping the vineyards.  The new vineyards are using modern trellis and irrigation systems and are being installed to accommodate mechanization. 

CE Specialst Dr. Kaan Kurtural featured in Capital Press website

May 15, 2018

"In the heart of the Napa Valley, a vineyard produces fine Cabernet Sauvignon with virtually no help from laborers."

"The 40-acre “touchless vineyard” was established by Kaan Kurtural, a University of California Cooperative Extension specialist who has devoted much of his career to improving production efficiency in vineyards as labor shortages have worsened."  So begins an article by Tim Hearden on capitalpress.com, "the West's Ag Website". 

Linda Bisson reacts to Wine Flavor 101 that honored her career

May 01, 2018

I want to take this opportunity to thank the organizers (Kay and Anita) of "Wine Flavor 101: Managing Wine Quality – Problematic Fermentation", the program held on February 15 to celebrate my career. I also want to thank all the speakers for their kind words, particularly David Block and Charlie Edwards, on the impact I have had on their careers and the industry. It's very humbling to know that these things can mean so much to others.

A new direction for VEN 124L – Winemaking Laboratory

April 30, 2018

In the Fall of 2017, Dr. Hildegarde Heymann stepped into the huge shoes left by Dr. Linda Bisson, who recently retired.  Linda taught the VEN 124L winemaking course for over thirty years and had placed her stamp all over it. When Hildegarde found out that she was designated to teach the class she realized that no one expected her to continue the course in exactly the same fashion.

Student Spotlight: Undergraduate Renee Berkus

April 19, 2018

Renee Berkus is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Department of Viticulture and Enology.  She is from Santa Barbara, California where she has returned home the last three summers to spend time with family and gain harvest experience.  Renee’s family is made up of architects, contractors, and interior designers, so she grew up deeply immersed in artistic work.  She hadn't been exposed to the wine industry until she came to UC Davis and became surrounded by it.    

Research Spotlight: Dr. Andy Waterhouse - Wine Chemistry on Many Fronts

April 10, 2018

The wine chemistry research in Dr. Andrew Waterhouse’s lab takes a number of diverse approaches, depending on the issue at hand and the industry’s priorities.  Wine oxidation is a big issue today and several students are tackling this from a number of angles.  PhD students Lingjun Ma and Anita Peterson investigated the basic chemical reactions that oxidation stimulates in order to understand what approaches might be worth pursuing.  These have led to the idea that glutathione might be a good preservative for wine, as well as showing how acetaldehyde has many forms present in wine. 

Professor and Chair David Block returns from sabbatical Andrea Thompson April 03, 2018

Department Chair Dr. David Block returned in January from a three-month sabbatical trip to Europe and South Africa. Along the way, he had the opportunity to connect with wonderful hosts! Some were old friends, some were alumni, and some were new friends that he made along his trip through Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and South Africa.

Dr. Block says, "Thanks to all. It was great to make new connections to wineries and research centers around the globe and to strengthen our connections."