Wine: It's a Thing of Beauty

Wine: It's a thing of beauty


Purple and green grapes hanging on vines.
Photo by Gregory Urquiaga

“It was a kind of a little concept, and now in a dream form and now it’s becoming a reality,” Margrit Mondavi said in a 2014 interview at UC Davis. “When I go to Davis, I see the wine school and the new winery, and the food science school in their great bright colors with their performing arts center. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful village of the things that we love: wine, food and the arts.”

Today more than ever, we consider Margrit's reminder that “there is so much beauty in the world, if we look for it.” And we honor Margrit's spirit with these wine suggestions from Dr. Andrew Waterhouse, director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Dr. Waterhouse has recommended wines that are available from local grocery stores or online. "I am trying to select wines that are lighter and more ethereal than typical California wines," he notes. "Wines that take a bit more attention to appreciate, perhaps. But not too different."


Available Locally

Bottle of Pinot Grigio from Maso Canali vineyard.



White: Maso Canali Pinot Grigio, $16 

This is the real Italian version, from the region that made it famous. Pinot Grigio is typically a pretty light wine, but the Maso Canali has some beautiful fruity characters. 

Where to get it: Nugget Markets and Savemart, and Raley's in Woodland, Total Wine in Sacramento




Bottle of wine from J Lohr Valdiguie vineyard.



Red: J Lohr Valdiguié, $10

This wine has a wonderful fruitiness to it that is not found in other varieties. In the past, the grapes were called Napa Gamay, but that name was not official and was finally eliminated from the market. Unfortunately, the current name is not the easiest to pronounce. A real bargain for the quality.

Where to get it: Davis Food Co-op and Nugget Markets, Corti Brothers in Sacramento.





Available Online

Bottle of wine from Bouchaine Vinyards



Bouchaine Vineyards Swan Clone Pinot Noir, $65

For me, this is the quintessential Pinot Noir, very light in tannin and color, almost a rosé in color, but it has a sumptuous aroma that has fruitiness but also earthiness.





Bottle of wine from Martha Stoumen vineyard.



Martha Stoumen Nero d’Avola, $40

This wine is a remarkable feat, with about 13% alcohol, but has a richness in both fruitiness and complexity that you would expect at much higher alcohol levels. The grape is from Sicily, but Martha sources this from vineyards planted by Italians up in Mendocino County.






Bottle of wine from Birdhorse Verdelho.



Birdhorse Verdelho, $27

Birdhorse is a startup winery, and the 2019 is their second vintage, though the proprietors are skilled.  This wine has citrusy and tropical fruitiness, but also some earthy flavors that pair well with oysters. 






Building with vineyard in foreground on sunny day.
Photo by Gregory Urquiaga

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science is a state-of-the-art teaching and research complex and a  LEED Platinum  certified winery, brewery and food and milk processing laboratory. The complex houses the departments of  Viticulture and Enology, and  Food Science and Technology, administrative offices, the  UC Davis Olive Center, the Honey and Pollination Center, sensory facilities and a food innovation kitchen. The entire complex surrounds the  Good Life Garden, a one-acre, edible plot featuring organic and sustainably grown vegetables, herbs and flowers. RMI is currently developing online programs that will be released soon.