From Grapes Into Wine

From Grapes Into Wine

The best wines have a bit of mystique - a nebulous area where the science and art of winemaking meet, personified in the winemakers themselves. What is the life of a winemaker like beyond the picture postcard of slow walks in rolling vineyards swathed in gentle fog and wine swirled in the perfect glass, abundant cheese board at the ready? How do winemakers use their formidable skills to taste and blend wine to ensure wineries meet their target quality and style? From understanding viticulture and how to achieve flavorful grapes to managing yearly weather patterns and the labor intensive wine production process to educating winery guests, we'll explore the practical side of how grapes are made into wine. Join Notre Dame Professor Holly Goodson, a biochemist who teaches the science of fermentation and is an advisor to a commercial vineyard, in a discussion about winemaking with Andrew Waterhouse ‘77, the Director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine & Food Science at UC Davis and Chris Kajani, Napa Valley native, winemaker and general manager of Bouchaine, the oldest continuously operating winery in the Carneros region in the southern tip of Napa Valley.

Meet the Faculty: Holly Goodson

Holly Goodson, a white woman in glasses with short hair and wearing a blue blouse smiles. The background, though out of focus, is the University of Notre Dame campus in spring when trees are in bloom.
May 8, 2018; Professor Holly Goodson. (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)

Holly Goodson is a biochemist in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame. She is also a consulting biochemist for Ironhand Vineyard, a small boutique winery in the St. Joseph River Valley. She earned her undergraduate degree in molecular biology from Princeton University and her doctoral degree in biochemistry from Stanford University. She joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2000. Her lab is focused on addressing questions related to cell biology using a combination of biochemistry, molecular biology, quantitative microscopy, and computational models. She teaches the wine portion of the science of fermentation.

Meet the Faculty: Andrew Waterhouse '77

Andrew Waterhouse, a white man with short hair and glasses and dressed in a tie and tweed jacket smiles against a plain white background.

Andrew L. Waterhouse ’77 is a third generation Californian, but moved frequently while growing up, including some years abroad.  He attended the University of Notre Dame where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, and then UC Berkeley for his PhD in organic chemistry. In 1991, he moved to the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis where his research program delved into wine oxidation as well as various aspects of wine chemistry, with an emphasis on phenolic compounds.  His graduate students and post-docs are winemakers, researchers and faculty across California and elsewhere around the globe. He is currently a Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture and is Director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis.

Meet the Speaker: Chris Kajani

Chris Kajani, a white woman with chin length red hair and blue eyes and wearing a blue blouse smiles against a background of a tree trunk and greenery.

Chris Kajani is a proud Napa native who grew up raiding her parents’ wine cellar and riding the neighbors’ horses (though not necessarily in that order). She started her career in biotech, but wine drew her inevitably home. A few too many trips to European wine regions led to wistful dinner party comments, which led to working harvests — and she was back at UC Davis for a Masters in Viticulture and Enology before she knew it.

Chris fell hard for Burgundian wines, and she built her winemaking career around crafting worthy California cousins. After almost a decade working with Carneros Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as Saintsbury’s winemaker, she joined the Bouchaine family as head winemaker and general manager in 2015. Today, her passion and authenticity set the tone for her team. Pick for flavor. Get serious about the details. Don’t take shortcuts. And above all, enjoy the wine.

Winemaking 101

What is the basic process of turning grapes into wine? Andrew Waterhouse ’77, director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis gives you the lay of the land.

Sips and Bites: Matthiason Wines

On Wednesday, October 14, 2020, Steve and Jill Klein Matthiasson chatted with Andrew Waterhouse about how their eponymous winery has carved out a unique place for sustainably-produced wines, and to share an inside look at how one of Napa’s most innovative wineries is changing how we make—and taste—wine.

Ask a Sommelier

Let Greg Tucker of Notre Dame Family Wines guide you in choosing the perfect wine for any occasion.

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Thursday, January 19, 2023 12:00 pm

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Featured Speakers: 

  • Holly Goodson, Biochemist in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame, Consulting Biochemist for Ironhand Vineyard in the St. Joseph River Valley
  • Andrew Waterhouse ‘77, Director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine & Food Science at UC-Davis
  • Chris Kajani, Winemaker and General Manager of Bouchaine Vineyards

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