Treasury winemaker pursues his PhD in the Boulton Lab


Bob Coleman is a fourth year Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry student studying the kinetics and mechanism of wine oxidation with Dr. Roger Boulton in the Department of Viticulture and Enology. He was born and raised, third generation, in Sonoma County wine country, and still resides there with his wife, Cynthia, and daughter, Shannon. After receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry at UC Davis in 1993, he returned home and took a temporary harvest cellar position at Chateau Souverain in Alexander Valley. That was enough to hook him into a lifelong career in the industry.

Shortly after his first harvest, Bob moved to Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood, were he advanced through the cellar and into winemaking. There he worked as the Associate Winemaker with celebrated Winemaker and UC Davis alumna, Margo Van Staaveren. His passion for learning and higher education was steered by friend and mentor Tom Collins (also a UC Davis alumnus), who guided Bob back to UC Davis in 2014 with the support of Treasury Wine Estates. Bob currently holds the position of Technician Winemaker while finishing his PhD.

He’s very excited and encouraged by the fundamental wine oxidation research that is being produced by his PhD work, as well as the wonderful multidisciplinary aspect of the AgChem graduate group, and the university as a whole, which has led to collaborative learnings and long-term valued friendships with his fellow students and professors. 

His time at UC Davis has not been without a few bumps from life, however. Shortly after the 2018 Sonoma fires in his home town, Bob began chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This past April, he finished his treatment with a positive prognosis for the future, and a renewed focus to finish his PhD later this year or early next.

After UC Davis, Bob plans to continue research in wine oxidation with Treasury Wine Estates. Additionally, his 21 vintages in Winemaking combined with the learnings from UC Davis will put him in an ideal position to effectively implement the RMI Winery sustainability practices into commercial scale wineries.