Leadership Changes in the Department of Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis


The Department of Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis recently changed leadership. Professor David Block stepped down as Department Chair after 12.5 years, effective January 1, 2024, and Associate Professor Ben Montpetit was named Chair.

Block's 12.5 year tenure as department chair ranks as the second longest in department history, exceeded only by the late Dr. Albert Winkler who served as chair for more than 20 years. After taking a break for sabbatical leave during part of 2024, Block will transition to focus more time on research and teaching at UCD. Block joined the V&E Department in 1996 and holds a joint appointment as a Professor in the UCD Department of Chemical Engineering.

Dr. Ben Montpetit has served as Vice Chair for two years. He joined the department faculty in 2016 as a yeast microbiologist to replace the retiring Dr. Linda Bisson, the former faculty microbiology specialist. One of Ben's planned major focuses is to enhance the student experience, which will include the teaching and classroom experience, as well as expand upon the research opportunities students engage in so that they are more beneficial and relevant to their future roles in the industry.

More information about Dave's accomplishments as chair and Ben's vision for the future of the Department can be found in this article by Ted Rieger published in Wine Business MonthlyPlease stay tuned for future announcements about the development of exciting new degree programs related to viticulture, enology, and wine business.

Ben will be at our booth (#924) at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium from 3-5 PM on Wednesday, January 24th, and at the Reception that evening. Please stop by and say hi!

The Department would like to congratulate Ben as he takes on this important role, and thank Dave for his years of service and dedication.