UC Davis is one of the few universities in the world that owns a vineyard in a premium winegrowing region. The Oakville Experimental Vineyard, located in the Napa Valley, provides the Department with 40 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Zinfandel vines where experiments aimed at improving viticultural practices are conducted. The Oakville site is also home to The Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard, an unusual and unprecedented collection of rare 'old-vine' Zinfandel cuttings from all over California.
Much of the research conducted at the Oakville Experimental Vineyard is designed to understand the influence and interaction of field practices on fruit composition and wine quality. A California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) weather station was installed in 1988. The Department of Water Resources computer communicates with the station to retrieve CIMIS weather data via a modem and computer terminal.
The on-site Harry E. Jacob Research Facility, containing state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, a meeting room, a cold room and office space, was constructed in 1996-1997. Dedicated on October 30, 1997, this unique research center was named for the late University viticulturist Harry E. Jacob. A gift of $500,000 from his son, Wendell Jacob, in memory of his father, was used to construct the shell of the small office building and lab complex, while an additional $700,000, received as a major gift from the estate of the late wine enthusiast Arnold A. Bayard helped to complete the structure.
The Harry E. Jacob Research Facility and its associated vineyards are used by department faculty, staff and students to conduct research in the areas of:
* rootstock and clonal interaction and evolution
* water use parameters
* development of varietal characteristics and tannins
* identification and monitoring of flavor/aroma precursors
* viticultural practices and antioxidant production
Within the Harry E. Jacob Research Facility is the Robert J. Barone Laboratory, made possible by Fisher Scientific International Inc. and many of the late Mr. Barone's friends. The company's very generous donation included scientific equipment and laboratory furniture. Fisher technicians installed all of the equipment and furniture donated by the company. The lab was named for Fisher's former Vice President, Administration, who passed away in 1995.
Highlights of current research projects at the Oakville research station are also available.