Mulled wine

December 2023: Letter from the Director

Winter Relections & 2024 Events

The UC Davis campus is quiet again for winter break, and the new year is approaching quickly. Reflecting on 2023, it has been a year of both consistency and transition.

The Institute has maintained engaging and educational events focusing on fungi, chocolate and wine pairing, food safety, grain breeding, Mexican American vineyard workers, the UC Davis Student Farm, and sake brewing. It was apparent our audience loves tasting food and wine, with TASTE selling out in less than two days and high demand for our Sips and Bites programs. A highlight was sharing the Food Product Development class with members of the public, who could taste innovative new foods designed by students.

As a reminder, many of this year's events were recorded and posted with captions. Visit our YouTube channel to watch programs you may have missed.

After his 5-year tenure, Andrew Waterhouse retired as the RMI director in June, and I was appointed to take the helm, a role I am honored to hold. As you can see from the red wine headache study below, Andy is still very active on campus. I appreciate the support and insights from Andy and the RMI staff during the transition.

We are busy planning for 2024 and excited to explore topics such as wine and climate change, strawberry breeding (with a tasting component!), and alternative proteins. We'll also announce new dates for two postponed events: Beyond Soul Food - Black Women's Leadership in American Food Culture, with Kimberly Nettles-BarcelónPsyche Williams-Forson, and Chef Tanya Holland, and a Walt Klenz wine business lecture with Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible.

Last month, I attended the biannual Google Food Lab, where attendees discussed the future of food and beverage, including developing more healthful, environmentally beneficial, and socially responsible products and processes. There were many innovations and discussions around loss and food waste, which will be another program focus for 2024, along with topics around food insecurity. You can read more about Google Food Lab on our blog.

Lastly, I hope you join the UC Davis Global Tea Institute for their 9th Annual Colloquium, Tea in a Changing World, on January 25, which is free to attend.

Cheers to 2023 and happy holidays!


Ned Spang
Director, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science
Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology

View the entire December 2023 newsletter.


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