February 2023: Letter from the Director
Successful Sips and Bites
The Robert Mondavi Institute started the year with two sold-out Sips and Bites events. It was wonderful to see the Sensory Theater packed with attendees!
Dr. Gordon Walker gave an in-depth and enthusiastic lecture on January 24 at Sips and Bites: Fascinated by Fungi. Attendees tasted delicious mushroom dishes at the reception featuring beech, maitake, and king trumpet mushrooms. Thanks to Mycopia for providing the mushrooms. I invite you to visit the Fascinated by Fungi website to learn more about the world of mushrooms and to follow Dr. Walker on his social media accounts.
Sips and Bites: Wine and Chocolate Pairing on February 7 was our largest audience for our tasting series to date! It featured an all-alumni lineup of panelists. Gus Zhu, the first Chinese Master of Wine, walked attendees through the four wines and how to taste them and identify flavors and traits. Thalia Hohenthal and Rebecca Kuehn from Guittard Chocolate Company explained how chocolate is made and taught the audience how to taste it by letting it melt and emulsify in their mouth. I was surprised that, just like wine, chocolate could have a variety of flavors like red fruit, tannins, and so much more.
Guests then tasted each chocolate with each wine and came up with their favorite (and least favorite) parings. The lively audience participation proved that everyone experiences flavors differently and some preconceptions were broken! I encourage you to test your tastebuds by gathering friends, eating Guittard chocolate, seeing what flavors you experience, and then trying it with different wines.
Please save the date for our next Sips and Bites on April 11, featuring the Student Collaborative Organic Plant Breeding Education (SCOPE) project. SCOPE focuses on improving the quality and taste of grains. Attendees will be able to taste and compare the grains they grow. Registration will open soon, and you will receive a notice via email.
Director, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science
Professor Emeritus, Department of Viticulture and Enology