Explore Sustainable Brewing and Winemaking at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine Science
Did you know that the Sacramento region is home to the first winery with a net-zero carbon footprint?
You heard right. Last week fellow Sac Foodie Jenna Buhagiar and I returned to our old college stomping grounds to tour the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine Science, a leader in the field of sustainable winemaking thanks to their new 34,000-square-foot eco-friendly fermentation facility.
Located on the outermost edge of south campus—yes, beyond the cowsheds—it’s easy to spot the tangerine-hued complex set against the broad expanse of fields and empty blue sky. Opened in January 2011, the teaching and research institute serves as the new home for the departments of Viticulture and Enology and Food Science and Technology. In addition, the Institute includes a food and milk processing center, sensory facility, 12-acres of teaching vineyards and, of course, UCD’s famous teaching brewery and research winery facilities.
During the tour I was most impressed with the center’s environmentally-friendly features. Huge holding vats enable the winery and brewery’s water needs to be met entirely through captured and recycled rainwater. The complex is LEED Platinum certified (the highest rating for environmental design and construction) and sections of the cement floors even contain recycled wine bottles.
“We are incredibly proud of how the outside world views our programs,” said tour guide Charles Brenneman, winemaker and manager of the Department of Viticulture and Enology. “You cannot go to a winery anywhere in the world and be more than two degrees of separation from this place due to our 150 years of teaching and to our alumni.”
The Institute is certainly worth a visit just to see its green innovation; however, if you’d like to go a step further, they also offer a series of short brewing courses available to the public. The next course, Brewing Basics: Going Beyond the Kit, will start September 29th and is currently open for enrollment.
While, UCD does not sell any beer or wine produced at the facility (preferring to focus strictly on research), we were able to end our tour with a refreshing glass of Pinot Grigio.
Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine Science
392 Old Davis Road
Davis, Ca 95616