Grapes, Wine And The Hilgard Project

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George E. Pake Auditorium 2002-12-05

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Grapes, Wine And The Hilgard Project

Grapes are the most valuable agricultural crop in California, and the seventh most valuable crop in the nation. The wine produced from these grapes is the most valuable agricultural product in the US. When sold, wine is estimated to contribute sales tax to the State of California at a level of $1B per year and the industry has been growing at an average of 5%pa for the past quarter of a century.

Professor Eugene Hilgard was the first Director of the Agriculture Experiment Station at the University of California, Berkeley (1875-1904) and a member of the National Academy of Science. He published 91 of the first 140 Station Bulletins and 44 of these dealt with studies on grapes and wine.

The Hilgard Project is the linking of our teaching and research experiments to web-based software that makes it available anywhere in the world. It extends from measurements of the weather stations and research vines at Oakville to the fermentation measurements in our Teaching Winery at Davis. The goal is the complete monitoring of all research and teaching activities in our three vineyards and the laboratories, wineries and distillery of the new Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food. The first phase of fermentation measurements has been completed and work on linking these to existing models and parameter estimation routines is in progress. The challenges lie in the development of improved instrumentation for vine physiology, wine fermentation and aging, and the creation of dynamic models for vine physiology and grape biochemistry.

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