Highlights in a history of innovation:
1930s: Credited with “re-starting” the California wine industry after Prohibition.
1940s: Studies on the relationship between wine quality and climate lead to recommended grape varieties for specific regions.
1950s: Introduction of modern sanitation to winemaking eliminated widespread vinegar contamination of wine.
1960s: Introduction of sterile filtration to the California industry eliminated many post-bottling problems; increased the market for table wines.
1970s: Research on malolactic cultures improved control and helped avoid spoilage.
1980s: The first standardized lexicon for wine was born with the Wine Aroma Wheel.
1990s: DNA fingerprinting techniques revealed the parentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir, and other varieties; TCA assay developed to measure and avoid cork taint.
2000s: qPCR tests developed for quantifying Brettanomyces and other wine microbes; Department leads the sequencing effort of twelve lactic acid bacteria genomes including O. oeni; Adams-Harbertson assay developed for quantifying wine phenolic profile.
Current: New rootstocks developed with resistance to fanleaf degeneration, nematode complexes, phylloxera and salinity; New yeast strains created that cannot produce the defect, hydrogen sulfide; The department designs and builds the world’s first LEED Platinum winery.