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International wine tastings to support underserved students

By Pat Bailey on February 15, 2013 in

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science on Feb. 22 will uncork a three-part international wine tasting and travelogue series at the University of California, Davis.

The event will benefit historically underserved students studying viticulture, enology, food science and other related fields, and support programs at the Robert Mondavi Institute.

The “Taste the World Series,” which will feature wine from Australia in February, Italy in March and South Africa in April, is a fundraiser to help increase student diversity in UC Davis’ food and wine programs, as well as support outreach efforts and educational opportunities.

Each event will introduce participants to the distinctive local origins of interesting wines that are not commonly imported to California and the rest of the United States. Eight different wines, ranging from iconic to little known, will be offered for tasting at each event.

Professor David Block, the Ernest Gallo Endowed Chair in the Department of Viticulture and Enology, will highlight the wines of Australia during the Feb. 22 tasting. The event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theater of the Robert Mondavi Institute.

The presentation will be based on Block’s seven-month sabbatical experience in South Australia and his travels through the other key production areas throughout Australia. South Australia is the home of Barossa Valley and Mclaren Vale, among other winegrape growing regions. 

The tasting will include iconic Australian wines such as Penfolds RWT, Wolf Blass Platinum Label Shiraz and Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay, as well as interesting Aussie favorites such as sparkling shiraz and Riesling from the Clare Valley.

The other tasting events in this series will be held on March 22 and April 26. The March presentation on Italian wines will be led by professor and wine chemist Andrew Waterhouse, who recently spent a sabbatical visit in Italy, and the April tasting of South African wines will be led by enologist Anita Oberholster, who was born and raised in South Africa. 

Participants may register for the tastings online.

Part of the proceeds from the Taste the World Series will benefit Broadening Horizons, a new initiative focused on increasing the number of historically underserved students in UC Davis’ Department of Viticulture and Enology, Department of Food Science and Technology and related programs. The initiative will increase outreach efforts to prospective students, introducing them to educational opportunities related to food and wine at UC Davis and the type of preparation needed to enter the University of California.

Event proceeds will count toward The Campaign for UC Davis, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, which seeks to inspire 100,000 donors to contribute $1 billion.

Media contact(s)

Pat Bailey, Research news (emphasis: agricultural and nutritional sciences, and veterinary medicine), 530-219-9640,

Evan White, Robert Mondavi Institute, 530-752-5233, cell 925-784-8163,