UC Davis Colloquium Explores Tea and Wine

Tea Initiative, Mondavi Institute Organize ‘Great Debate’

The Global Tea Initiative for the Study of Tea Culture and Science is holding its fifth annual colloquium, Thursday and Friday, Jan. 16 and 17, at the UC Davis Conference Center. This year’s event, “The Great Debate: Discussions on Tea and Wine,” is co-organized with the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

Panels will delve into the history and various attributes of tea and wine — considering site, terroir and appellations, sensory aspects, aesthetics and collecting, and developing markets. In addition to UC Davis faculty, speakers from a variety of disciplines will come from Brown and Cornell universities, and from France, Germany, Indonesia and Japan.

Select lectures include:

  • “Collecting Tea: A Conversation,” James Norwood Pratt, author of The Tea Lover’s Companion
  • “Collecting Wine” — Jim Gordon, editor-at-large of Wine Business Monthly and contributing editor for Wine Enthusiast
  • “Site, Terroir and Appellations — Tea,” Fitrio Ashardiono, UC Davis visiting scholar and senior researcher at the Asia-Japan Research Institute, Ritsumeikan University, Osaka Ibaraki Campus
  • “Site, Terroir and Appellations — Wine,” Ron C. Runnebaum, UC Davis assistant professor of viticulture and enology

Special events include:

  • An enactment of the Tang dynasty text, the Debate Between Tea and Alcohol (Cha Jiu lun), by members of UC Davis’s Theatre and Dance Ensemble, 10 a.m. Jan. 16
  • A panel on new tea and wine trends by industry professionals
  • A session on internships and careers with industry professionals
  • An exhibition of tea and wine books and materials in Shields Library
  • “Old Traditions, New Trends: Tea and Wine in Japanese Art,” an exhibition in the Conference Center 

Other activities include networking, company showcases and beverage samples. Attendees will include students, scholars, members of the international tea and wine industries, and the general public.

As reflected in the title of the colloquium, “tea and alcohol have long been recognized as ‘social beverages,’” said Katharine Burnett, associate professor of art history, an expert in Chinese art and culture, and founder of the Global Tea Initiative. “Few, however, know that they have many other important similarities, such as site/terroir, chemistry profiles, sensory aspects and collecting.

“By collaborating with the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, this year’s annual GTI colloquium brings the two beverages together for stimulating discussions over two days.”

Andrew Waterhouse, professor of viticulture and enology, and director of the Robert Mondavi Institute, had this to say about the first-time collaboration: “The Robert Mondavi Institute is pleased to partner with the Global Tea Initiative in support of our joint commitment to elevate the profile of beverage-related research and expertise on the UC Davis campus, and to celebrate the significant roles both wine and tea play in cultures worldwide.”

A part of the College of Letters and Science, the Global Tea Initiative focuses on both the culture and the science of tea from its origins in Asia and spreading to almost every continent on the planet. Unique in the world, the GTI fosters research and collaboration across the sciences, humanities and social sciences campus wide to explore the wide-ranging impact of tea on ceramics, gender roles, health practices and more all over the world.

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science provides a prestigious forum to engage the public and scholars with the world-class wine, brewing and food science programs at UC Davis. The institute promotes the importance of the food and beverage related research being done by academics across campus with lectures, symposia and public outreach. 

The conference is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. See the conference website for more information, including the complete schedule, and the registration link.

Media Resources

Michael French, College of Letters and Science, 530-752-5863, mgfrench@ucdavis.edu

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