Two glasses of white wine next to white grapes on a table in front of a vineyard.

Blazing the way for chardonnay and sustainable wine

Professor Harold Olmo developed 30 grape varieties, and his study of the chardonnay grape led to its economic viability. Chardonnay is now California’s most important wine grape variety, cultivated on nearly 100,000 acres throughout the state. Between Olmo and geneticist and plant breeder Professor Andrew Walker, the Department of Viticulture and Enology developed a total of 15 wine grape varieties, 15 table grape varieties and five juice grape varieties. The two also developed seven rootstocks used by farmers to grow grape vines that are resistant to various diseases and pests, creating better conditions for growers and saving money for consumers. The department also built the very first sustainable, LEED Platinum winery in the world in 2011, which has served as a model for both universities and wineries around the world.

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