The LEED Platinum Teaching and Research Winery

Early in 2011, UC Davis celebrated the grand opening of the world’s most environmentally advanced facility for making wine, beer and processed foods. It holds the distinction of being the first building at UC Davis constructed entirely with private funding, totaling more than $20 million. In designing the Teaching and Research Winery in this building, the department had two goals—to build the most advanced winery in the world and the most sustainable winery in the world. UC Davis partnered with T.J. Rodgers, founder and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor and owner of Clos de la Tech Winery to design and build 152 state-of-the-art stainless steel research fermentors controlled by Cypress programmable chips. These fermentors give real time °Brix and temperature data that is transmitted wirelessly. Automated temperature control is possible through set jacket temperatures and pumpovers based on set cap or must temperature limits.

Fourteen 500-gallon fermentors, designed by Professor David Block and Winemaker Chik Brenneman for use in teaching and research and installed in 2014, have the capability of being cleaned using automated cleaning (clean-in-place or CIP) that will provide better and safer cleaning with significantly reduced water and chemical use. All of these tanks have been named by or for pioneers in the California wine industry through generous donations of $50,000 each from: Jerry Lohr (J Lohr Vineyards), Bart and Daphne Araujo (Araujo Estate Wines), Paul Hobbs, David Ramey, Warren Winiarski, Cakebread Family (Cakebread Cellars), Wente Family (Wente), Heitz Family (Heitz Cellars), Andre Tchelistcheff (Beaulieu Vineyard), Opus One, Trefethen Family (Trefethen Family Vineyards), Peter Mondavi Sr. (Charles Krug Winery), and Nickel & Nickel .

The second goal for the winery, led by Professor Roger Boulton, was to create the most sustainable winery in the world. The new facility is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified, the highest rating for environmental design and construction awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the first winery in the world to receive such certification. The building has high-thermal insulation for reduced energy use, solar panels to supply all winery energy use during harvest, and rainwater capture for year-round landscape irrigation and toilets. All carbon dioxide generated during fermentation is sent out of the building to reduce unnecessary air intake and air conditioning. The facility runs almost exclusively with natural lighting. The winery facility has been a magnet for industry and campus visitors interested in the unique features of the building and the advanced, sustainable processing that it houses. In addition to lead gifts from Robert Mondavi, Ron and Diane Miller, proprietors of Silverado Vineyards, and the Executive Leadership Board, more than 150 individuals, alumni, corporations, and foundations contributed to make this facility a reality.