Robert Mondavi Institute Opens New Winery, Brewery, and Food Science Laboratory

mondavi wine

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science unveiled its new teaching and research facility with a grand opening celebration on January 28, 2011. Events included a welcoming ceremony, a guided tour of the new building, and a catered reception featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales.

The Teaching and Research Winery and August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory is a 34,000 square foot complex that includes a food processing plant, a milk processing plant, a brewing lab and winery. The new facility is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified brewery and winery in the world – which is the highest environmental rating awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Opening ceremonies featured a range of prestigious speakers including Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, who considers the building a “jewel for UC Davis” that confirms our University’s commitment to the continued success of food and brewing in the state of California and the nation. Andrew Waterhouse, Chair of Viticulture and Enology, has begun to work in the new facility and feels like he has “jumped forward a full century” in terms of technological and infrastructure standards.

The Teaching and Research Winery houses a juice storage and fermentation room, which will be used as a teaching facility for wine production classes. Students can utilize high-tech equipment that allows them to digitally monitor the processes of crushing, pressing and fermentation remotely via computer access. The brewing facilities are also top grade and practice the highest standards of sustainability. Waste water is reused for cleaning and restroom facilities, recycled glass is incorporated in the flooring materials, and the winery features a specially-designed system that captures CO2 output from the fermentation process.

The tomato processing plant and milk processing facilities will put technologies in the hands of students and researchers that have never yet been possible at UC Davis. The food-grade milk processing plant will allow for specialized clinical trials, separation of milk components, preparation of samples for clinical and sensory studies, bio-active compound stability studies, and fundamental process research, while only requiring minimal energy and water. The California Processing Tomato Industry plant will be able to handle a broad spectrum of food processing including tomatoes, peaches and prunes and includes space to install an olive mill to produce UC Davis Olive Oil products. 

The $20 million complex was built entirely from private donations; no federal or state funds were used in its design or construction. More than 150 individuals, alumni, corporations and foundations contributed funds. Dean Neal Van Alfen of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science also announced the next piece of planning for the Robert Mondavi Institute, with a lead gift provided by Jackson Family Wines. A new sustainable winery project is underway that would test new technologies to make wine production entirely sustainable. The wine production building would produce research on how make other wine production facilities sustainable.