Wine cork with 2024 printed on it with lights in the background

January 2024: Letter from the Director

Happy New Year

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.
The Davis Enology & Viticulture Organization (DEVO) was created to promote contact between students, the wine industry, and the community. DEVO hosts immersion trips, awards scholarships for international internships, and much more. One of their most popular fundraisers is the annual Winkler Dinner, happening on May 4. Learn more about DEVO events and how to support them by visiting their website, following them on Instagram, or attending Picnic Day on April 20. 
Women in Wine was created to connect, support, and celebrate women in the wine industry. In partnership with the RMI Walt Klenz Lectureship Series, they will host the Women in Wine Symposium, "Sustainability in the Wine Industry," on April 6 with distinguished speakers in viticulture, winemaking, business, and marketing. This symposium aims to be educational while fostering connections among alums, students, and supporters of women in the wine community. Follow Women in Wine on Instagram for updates.
The Food Tech Club offers career development for students through events with guest lectures, professional workshops, food industry tours, networking events, and regional and national food competitions. Taking part in these opportunities gives students a better understanding of the food industry's diversity and career opportunities. Visit the Food Tech Club website or follow them on Instagram to learn more. 
The Department of Viticulture and Enology has recently had a leadership change. After 12.5 years, Professor David Block stepped down as department chair, and Associate Professor Ben Montpetit was named interim chair. Congratulations to Dave for his record of service for the department and his many accomplishments, and I look forward to working with Ben during his time as chair. You can read more about the transition on the Wine Business website.
With the change, Professor Block has taken on a new role as Center Director for the newly launched Integrative Center for Alternative Meat and Protein (iCAMP). You can read the announcement on the RMI blog. I am excited to be part of iCAMP as we consider the environmental impact of cultivated meat and identify how we can make the industry more sustainable.
I look forward to sharing more details on upcoming events in our next newsletter and wish you a Happy New Year!


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

View the entire January 2024 newsletter.

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