Executive Leadership Board

Joining the Department of Viticulture and Enology Executive Leadership Board (ELB)

The Department

The Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis was founded in 1880 and has been providing world-class knowledge and training to the California and international grape and wine industries for over 130 years. Our world-class programs have more recently been further bolstered by world-class facilities. In 2008, we opened the buildings of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science that house our state-of-the-art research and teaching labs. These facilities, initiated by a gift from Robert Mondavi, have enabled us to define the cutting edge of research in microbiology, plant biology, analytical chemistry, sensory science, and engineering as applied to grapes and wine. In 2010, we opened the new LEED Platinum Teaching and Research Winery—the most advanced, sustainable winery in the world. In May 2013, we opened the Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building. It will house experiments that will allow us to pioneer sustainable wine processing ideas like water capture and reuse, carbon dioxide capture, and alternative energy sources. This facility, when fully equipped, will make the most sustainable winery in the world self-sufficient in both water and energy—the first winery in the world to achieve this accomplishment.

During the past few years, we also began using our newly established 12-acre vineyard adjacent to the RMI complex. This new resource facilitates teaching in our program, in addition to creating a beautiful entry point for the campus. The faculty, in consultation with industry supporters, are also in the process of creating a strategic plan to fully utilize our Oakville Station and its vineyards, a critical departmental resource that we hope will become a magnet for teaching, research, and extension, much as our new winery has. Our students, always a creative and dynamic group, are now learning in the most advanced setting for grape and wine research and teaching in the world.

With these new facilities, the faculty are preparing students for practical operation of vineyards and wineries, as well as teaching these students key problem-solving skills that will enable them to succeed. In addition to creating world-class facilities, the department is also in the process of strengthening its human resources with several recent or ongoing faculty searches.

All together, our people and our facilities allow us to accomplish our three-pronged mission of research, teaching, and extension of knowledge, which in turn will allow us to help the grape and wine industries to manage the challenges of the future and thrive in the worldwide grape and wine markets.

The Executive Leadership Board

The Executive Leadership Board (ELB) is an important and influential advisory group for the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology. Composed of invited industry leaders, educators, wine appreciators and selected friends and colleagues, ELB members lend expert counsel and assistance to the Department in setting and accomplishing its long-range strategic goals. To date, the ELB has been instrumental in departmental strategic planning exercises, as well as helping the department to implement its vision—including fundraising for our new facilities and key staff positions.

Why join the ELB?

Our strategic vision for the Department will ensure its future, as well as the competitiveness of the industry. We would welcome your energy and skill in implementing this vision.

Our current strategic vision includes:

• Improving and strengthening our relationship with the wine and grape industries
• Significantly increasing industry investment in research, including an effort to quantify the expected returns on this investment
• Creating new means of communicating with and delivering new knowledge to our stakeholders
• Strengthening our teaching program to graduate more highly trained students, in addition to growing our research and outreach efforts
• Building strong relationships with our alumni
• Building and equipping world class facilities to support all aspects of our mission


In addition to investing in the Department's future through engagement in our strategic vision, members of the ELB develop personal relationships with a diverse group of other ELB members and with faculty members of the department, and they participate in the vibrant life of the University. They are a very special resource. The Department realizes that its vision of excellence can only be achieved through maintaining effective working relationships with its colleagues in the trade and with the general public—the ELB and its members are an important part of this.


Responsibilities and Commitments

Members of the ELB agree to the following responsibilities:

• Actively engage in an advisory and strategic capacity
• Participate in high-level fundraising projects
• Act as professional, knowledgeable public ambassadors for the Department

Members of the ELB attend 3-4 annual board meetings each year at UC Davis or fellow member’s wineries. In addition, each member joins standing or ad hoc committees matching their interest, which typically meet via conference calls. The ELB standing committees include Development, Membership, and Program (working on activities that further the departmental vision).

The annual dues for the ELB are $4,000, which allows the board to be self-sufficient and helps to fund the salaries of the ELB Executive Secretary and the department’s Industry Relations Manager, a key link to our communications with our industries.