Ben Montpetit New Viticulture and Enology Chair

From the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Ben Montpetit, a yeast geneticist and biochemist, is the new chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at University of California, Davis.

Montpetit joined UC Davis in 2016 and became department vice chair in 2021.

In his new role, he plans to enhance student offerings, continue to advance diversity efforts and foster investment in students, faculty, staff and department operations.

January 2024: Letter from the Director

The new year brings the beginning of the winter quarter for students, and even in dreary weather, you can feel their energy on campus.
Many fantastic student organizations are on campus and within the RMI academic departments. Over the coming year, we'll share their activities and other student projects with events inviting you to see their innovative work. For now, I'd like to highlight three student-led organizations.

Integrative Center for Alternative Meat and Protein to Launch at UC Davis Jan. 17

From UC Davis News

The University of California, Davis, is leading the establishment of a new Integrative Center for Alternative Meat and Protein, or iCAMP. The center will work toward large-scale commercialization and technological advancement of alternative proteins, including cultivated meat (from animal cells grown in large fermentors), plant- and fungal-based foods, and innovative hybrids that combine conventional meat products with alternative proteins.

Exploring Sake in Japan

I was honored to have the opportunity to travel to Japan in November 2023 to participate in the 6th Annual Sakeology event hosted by Niigata University, Niigata Prefecture, and the Niigata Sake Brewers Association. Niigata is located about 150 miles northwest of Tokyo, bordering the Sea of Japan. The region is known for its rice cultivation and high-quality spring water that flows down from the neighboring mountains — two critical ingredients for producing sake!

Google Food Lab

Instead of spending this past Halloween dispensing candy to trick-or-treaters, I traveled to Seattle to participate in the Google Food Lab. The Google Food Lab is a community of invited members working in the food and beverage space that meet biannually to discuss the sector's future, including pathways toward developing more healthful, environmentally beneficial, and socially responsible products and processes. It is always an engaging event that offers opportunities to learn about innovations and make connections with inspiring individuals worldwide.

October 2023: Letter from the Director

My first three months as director at the Robert Mondavi Institute have gone by in a flash. I have enjoyed meeting with campus partners, collaborators, and supporters to learn how to continue highlighting food and beverage research and advancements in an enjoyable and approachable way. I'll continue these conversations, but I am already proud of the institute's fall programs.

September 2023: Letter from the Director

Fall has arrived on campus with cooler days and a buzz of excitement as students move in and prepare for classes to start next week. It's one of my favorite times of the year, and I'm excited about the fall events we have lined up for you!