A Combination of Science and Art—-A tour in Mondavi Winery—By Rachel

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This week Organizational Strategy and Structure professor, Nicole Biggart, organized for us a tour of the Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery, part of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science here on campus.  We walked over after class to meet David Block, Department of Viticulture and Oenology Professor and Department Chair. Professor Block gave us a fascinating tour through the winery. The LEED Platinum certified building contains a winery, brewery, and food-processing complex, and boasts being the most advanced, sustainable winery in the world. Professor Block gave us an introduction to the some of the equipment including brand new wine tanks with automated cleaning technology, and stainless steel fermentation barrels that are being used for research.

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Here Professor Block is letting us all take a look inside the new wine tanks.

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Then we took a walk outside to the rainwater storage area. Rainwater drains into the storage containers year round to be filtered until potable and used during the wine making process.

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Next we made our way back inside to check out the barrel cellar which held oak barrels used in the aging process. Unfortunately, as Professor Block told us, the wine made by in the Jess Jackson Winery cannot be sold, so most of it ends up down the drain. I think we all died a little inside when we heard that!

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The tour ended in the wine cellar which held an array of wines both made by UC Davis students and donated by UC Davis Friends and Alumni. There were some impressively old bottles of wine being stored, including one Italian wine from the 1940s. A couple of times a year, we were told, the Institute will sell tickets for a chance to sample some of the donated bottles. The wine cellar’s ceiling, which I didn’t get a picture of, was also made of an old recycled wooden aqueduct tube.

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It was truly impressive to see how the Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery is embracing and advancing technology for a process that has been used for thousands of years. The GSM has good connections with the Robert Mondavi Institute through the Wine Executive MBA program and it’s a great place to visit for anyone interested in sustainability or the wine industry (or for anyone who just loves wine).

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