January 2023: Letter from the Director
A New Year
2023 started with extreme weather in Northern California with prolonged flooding, power outages, and many fallen trees on campus and in surrounding communities. We welcome the much-needed rain but are also grateful for sunny skies this week as we recover.
I want to take a moment to reflect on last year. We hosted a variety of fun and informative events on topics such as alternative meat, the terroir of beer, small farms, experimental wines, learning from goats, the business of wine, and more. Our ten events welcomed 1,276 attendees, with 827 event recording views on our YouTube channel.
We also hosted our first in-person Sips and Bites since the series' inception in 2019. It was a sold-out summer produce tasting with UC Davis Dining Services and highlighted how a shared experience could spark conversation and curiosity. Since then, all Sips and Bites events have sold out quickly, including the first two of this year: Fascinated by Fungi, and Wine and Chocolate Pairing.
We are still working out some bugs with offering hybrid events, but we will continue offering our lectures virtually and our tastings in person at the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theater.
In August, we also launched a virtual video tour series for our out-of-the-town supporters or those new to the Robert Mondavi Institute. It features areas such as the Good Life Garden, the Sensory Building and sensory studies, the Food Innovation Lab, the milk lab, the pilot processing plant, and the brewery. We've had 1,614 views of our videos so far!
Coming up on February 1, we will host Savor - Beyond Soul Food: Black Women's Leadership in American Food Culture, with Kimberly Nettles-Barcelón, Psyche Williams-Forson, and Chef Tanya Holland. These three award-winning thought leaders and culinary changemakers in Black women's cultural food work will address how Black women's creative labor is the root of American cuisine.
For the first time, the UC Davis Olive Center will release an extremely limited, 100% Koroneiki Extra Virgin Olive Oil! Enjoy this oil from the most popular Greek olive variety, grown at the UC Davis Wolfskill Experimental Orchard. The UC Davis Bookstore will have it available the weekend before Valentine's Day.
The Honey and Pollination Center has an Introduction to Mead Making class and a hands-on Mead Making Bootcamp in early February. It's an excellent chance to learn from UC Davis experts and mead makers. You can also sign up for their 3-part Honey Exploration Series; details are below.
Lastly, I encourage you to connect with the Robert Mondavi Institute on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Happy New Year!
Director, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science
Professor Emeritus, Department of Viticulture and Enology