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Robert Mondavi Institute Opens

December 2008
by Kate Lavin
Tim Mondavi
Clare Hasler, Robert Grey, Margrit Mondavi, Neal Van Alfen and Larry Vanderhoef (from left) wield giant scissors for the grand opening of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
Davis, Calif. -- A group of lawmakers, faculty and donors gathered Oct. 10 at the newly constructed Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine Science (RMI), to celebrate the grand opening of the site.

Speaking to the hundreds of donors who had gathered for the event, University of California, Davis, chancellor Larry N. Vanderhoef said that opening the doors to RMI was akin to opening the doors to the world. UC Davis has long been considered home for one of the top food and wine research programs, and now it has facilities to match, Vanderhoef said.

In addition to private office space, the buildings are equipped with new, shared laboratories.

Tim Mondavi
Tim Mondavi, son of the late Robert Mondavi, watches the grand opening ceremony in Davis.
UC Davis Olive
UC Davis' Olive Center hosted an olive tasting at the new Institute for Food and Wine Science.

Environmental consciousness was a key point in designing the new buildings. The floors, which appear to be concrete, are in fact made from fly ash, a residue that is generally captured from the chimneys of coal plants. Cabinets in the labs are made of pressed wheat straw, and all of the wood used in construction of the building came from sustainable sources. The laboratories are outfitted with glass panels that prevent infrared radiation from entering, and keep the temperature steady. And the buildings encircle a courtyard, which is planted with a citrus grove, an olive grove and the "good life garden"--ever-changing plots of herbs and fruits.

--Kate Lavin

Tim Mondavi
The sensory building of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science rises to the west of the institute's olive grove, citrus grove and the ever-changing "good life garden."
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