Jess Jackson Sustainable Winery Building opens

Outside corner of a building with the name "Jess Jackson" on a sign
The one-story, 8,500 square-foot building will eventually house equipment and systems for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide from wine fermentation, among other processes.

Supporters and wine industry leaders gathered today at the University of California, Davis, to celebrate the opening of the Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building.

This $4 million state-of-the art structure, when fully equipped, will enable the adjacent teaching and research winery, brewery and food-processing facility to operate in a self-sustainable manner through onsite capture of energy and water. It was made possible by a $3 million pledge from the late Jess Jackson and his wife, Barbara Banke, proprietor of Jackson Family Wines.

The one-story, 8,500 square-foot building will eventually house equipment and systems for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide from wine fermentation, and for filtering and recirculating water for wine, beer and food processing. It is expected to be the first building at any university to be certified Net Zero Energy under the Living Building Challenge and only the second such building in California.

“What you see in this building is the potential to achieve levels of sustainable operation never before seen in a commercial or research winery,” said David Block, chair of the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology.

“We are extremely grateful to Barbara Banke, Jess Jackson and their family for sharing our vision for sustainable wine making and partnering with the university to make this building a reality,” Block said.

“My family and I are proud to support UC Davis to create the Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building and its ability to educate and inspire winemakers for generations to come,” said Barbara Banke.

“The university continues to be one of the most important academic assets for our nation's winemaking community, and the opportunity to develop, build and share best practices in energy conservation, water management and other world-class sustainability standards was something we were honored to help bring to fruition,” Banke said.

The new sustainable winery building is adjacent to UC Davis’ nearly three-year-old Teaching and Research Winery and August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory. Both are located at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science complex on the south side of the core campus and visible from Interstate 80.

The new building was constructed to include 10 dedicated, modular spaces that will accommodate equipment needed for a variety of processes including high-purity filtration of rainwater for use in cleaning fermentors and barrels in the winery. Ninety percent of the water and chemistry from each cleaning cycle will be captured, filtered through a semi-permeable membrane and reused in the next cleaning cycle, eventually being used as many as 10 times.

The water filtration and recirculation system is expected to be installed next year, and a system for sequestering carbon dioxide captured from all fermentations in the winery will follow. The carbon dioxide collected from the fermentations will be converted into calcium carbonate, or chalk, once the sequestration system is completed.

The new building also will be equipped to produce chilled water, using a solar-powered icemaker, and generate hydrogen gas by electrolysis, fueling a hydrogen fuel cell for nighttime energy use. 

One room in the new building will house the control system and data hub for the many processing systems, and two areas will be held for future research projects and equipment trials related to any aspect of water and energy use or sustainable systems.

The building, which was constructed to be extremely “tight” and with exceptional thermal insulation to minimize temperature variation, was created by the design-build team of Pankow Builders, Siegel & Strain Architects and Guttman & Blaevoet Engineering, using environmentally sophisticated construction methods and materials.

For example, the roof overhangs on the east and west sides of the building form deep porches, protecting the structure against summer heat. And the roof area was increased to support a photovoltaic array that can be expanded to provide for future energy demands of the adjacent winery, brewery and food-processing plant.

Furthermore, the building is super-insulated, meeting R-59.5 insulation standards in the walls and R-76 in the roof, thus minimizing the impact of hot weather on the building’s interior temperature. In the evening, natural ventilation is used to flush warm air from the interior.

The building’s slab contains a tube system that will allow cold water to provide additional cooling in summer and hot water to provide winter heating, as well as pipework for a future, below-ground rock bed that will provide additional thermal mass to offset heat released from the various installed systems.

In order to decrease the carbon footprint of the new building, concrete blocks that permanently sequester — rather than emit — carbon dioxide were used, along with a 90-percent cement replacement mix. These techniques, intended to protect the atmosphere against emissions of this greenhouse gas, resulted in a 50-percent cement replacement in the building’s slab and foundations.

“Because of the building’s flexible design, these and each of the other operating systems can be removed and updated as research advances become commercially available,” said Professor Roger Boulton, a winery-engineering expert and the Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology at UC Davis.

“This is intended to be a building that encourages the adoption of evolving technologies in the areas of energy, water, carbon and byproduct streams, while at the same time operating the winery in a self-sustainable manner,” he said.

In December 2010, the Teaching and Research Winery became the first winery in the world to receive LEED platinum certification, the highest rating for environmental design and construction awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) Located in the same building, the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory also became the first such facility to achieve LEED platinum certification.

About the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology

Established at UC Berkeley in 1880 by California legislative mandate, what is now the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology has been at the forefront of international grape and wine innovation for more than 130 years. The department partners with the California grape and wine industry through research, public service and equipping students with both scientific knowledge and practical skills.

The department includes 14 faculty members and enrolls 100 undergraduate students and 40 graduate students.

More information about the department.

Media Resources

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

Secondary Categories

Environment University