The picturesque vineyard at UC Davis’ south entrance is about to get bigger. The philanthropy-funded space, just off Interstate 80, will add 2.5 acres to the existing 13.5. It will be organically farmed and continue to act as a teaching facility. This summer trellises will be installed, with planting planned for next spring. Vineyard manager Nate Kane ’14, M.S. ’17, started last July, just in time to help start the planning process.
Old Davis Road
Old Davis Road was repaved at the south entrance to campus in July 2017, creating the opportunity to extend the teaching vineyard up to the edge of the road.
Closer to the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, a portion of the vineyard is used to teach students ampelography, the identification of grapevines by the shape and color of their leaves and grape berries. “It’s essentially a library — examples of grapevines from around the world,” said winemaker and cellar master Chik Brenneman.
Included will be a heritage block of zinfandel, petit verdot and alicante bouschet. “It’s a field blend, so we’ll plant them all in the field, harvest it at once and ferment it together,” said Kane. Added Brenneman, “These varieties were some of the original varieties to come into California, so it commemorates California vineyard history.”
This vineyard grows about 300 varieties of grapes, with main production varieties being alvarinho, petite sirah, French colombard, chardonnay, barbera, zinfandel and grenache noir. It adds up to between 25 to 30 tons of fruit each year.