Student Life Blog Posts

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.

A Small Farm with a Big Impact

College is a formative time for students, setting the foundation for years to come. It is a time of discovery, whether it be new passions, friends, or opportunities. Personally, I discovered my love for grapes and wine at UC Davis, which I had never been exposed to growing up in Los Angeles. I ended up switching my major and pursuing a career in the wine industry because of my exposure at UC Davis and the subsequent uncovering of a passion.

Great Wine is Made in the Vineyard

It has often been said that great wine is made in the vineyard, and it is very true that high-quality grapes are a fundamental ingredient for producing excellent wine. However, the people who tend to the vineyard are often overlooked.

Learning from Goats

I grew up in Los Angeles, so my childhood was not marked by many experiences surrounding agriculture. Many students who attend UC Davis come from similar backgrounds, so UC Davis is where students like me are exposed to the plethora of sciences and niches under the umbrella of agriculture. Personally, my passion for wine and grapes was found when I attended UC Davis, something I had never been exposed to previously. Meanwhile, some find their passion for goats, or what Ben Rupchis calls the “gateway livestock,” for students foraying into agriculture.

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.

Shop Small Farms

Shopping at the Davis Farmers Market is a classic Saturday morning activity for Davis locals and visitors alike. Showcasing freshly picked, vibrant fruits and vegetables, local farmers line up stalls to market their produce to the community and connect with consumers. These farmers come from small farms, the topic of the recent Savor lecture, hosted by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine, titled “Sustaining Small Farms.”

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.

A Tealightful Tasting

As a viticulture and enology student, I have become accustomed to the process of wine tasting through my years of study and practice. The process has remained romantic while becoming systematic to me--I see, swirl, sniff, sip, savor the wine. During the Robert Mondavi Institute’s Sips and Bites event “Exploring the World of Artisanal Tea,” I learned that this same tasting approach also applies to tea, the most consumed prepared beverage in the world.

Think Differently

A student's take:

I’m Kendal Koorenny, a senior in the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program who has been given a fun and exciting task: giving a student’s perspective on events hosted by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine Science.