Viticulture & Enology Blog Posts

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.

Chocolate + Wine = Divine

Chocolate and wine are more similar than one might think. For example, chocolate and wine are both fermented, can be analyzed for tasting notes and other sensory descriptors like tannins, and are produced worldwide. With so many different styles and origins of wine and chocolate, tasters can have a lot of fun deciphering which kinds of wines and chocolates best pair together to create a divine sensory experience.

The Winemaker’s Toolkit

Every winemaker has a toolkit. Before, during, and after fermentation, the winemaker can use their tools to craft the wine they want to create, a wine that fits their style, the consumer’s desires, or the vineyard/region. Part of this toolkit is wine additions. These additions are dictated by the laws of the local wine region and, should the wine be exported, the wines of the importing country.

Vote With Your Wine Glass

When a consumer walks down the grocery store wine aisle, their eyes are simultaneously bombarded with a multitude of colors and pictures on labels, with each label representing one of the many brands trying to reach the consumer. Competition abounds, so brands attempt to grab consumers’ attention quickly. There is one wine company that stands out. It’s not because of fancy embossed labels or contorted glass bottles; rather, O’Neill Vintners and Distillers stands out because of its commitment to sustainability.

March 2022: Letter from the Director

Next week, the Spring semester starts, and for the first time since March 2020, students and staff are on campus and can forgo face coverings. The mask requirement change is a significant milestone for the college and our community, taking small steps back to normal. However, we are still committed to supporting one’s personal choice to wear a mask and will remain flexible in light of COVID developments.

The Art of Problem Solving

As someone who has studied viticulture and enology in both my bachelor’s and my current master’s program, I have learned that most grape-growing and winemaking is problem-solving. It’s up to the grape-grower and winemaker if they want to problem-solve proactively or reactively (or both), but trust me, the problems will come eventually and need solving—and you simply can’t prepare for them all.

Having a Nice Glass of French Wine?

From UC Davis News

If consumers cannot tell the quality of a product when they buy it, it can drive high-quality products, like a good French wine, out of the market. Consumers would not pay a premium, and producers would have no incentive to make costly quality improvements. This widely held economic tenet, formalized in a famed article by Nobel Prize-winner George Akerlof, suggests that without standards, consumers could be left with mostly “lemons,” such as defective used cars.