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Sustainable winery building to be hub of environmental technology

November 3, 2011

Ground was ceremonially broken today at the University of California, Davis, for the 8,000-square-foot Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building, which will enable the adjacent winery, brewery and food-processing complex to become the first self-sustainable, zero-carbon teaching and research facility in the world.

The $4 million, one-story building, slated for completion in 2013, was made possible by a $3 million pledge from the late Jess Jackson and his wife, Barbara Banke, proprietor of Jackson Family Wines.

“UC Davis is a leader in sustainability in many different areas — energy, transportation, housing and work environments, and water reduction — and certainly interest in sustainable wine and food production is developing rapidly,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.

“This building will be used to explore new research areas, including ways to maximize water conservation in wine production and sequester carbon dioxide during fermentation,” she said. “With the technology that this building will house, we plan to produce wine with a net-zero carbon footprint and to develop models that are workable for the wine industry.”

“This new research facility fulfills a vision of sustainability that will allow UC Davis and the wine and food industries to reach a new level in conservation of water, energy and natural resources,” said Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “We are very grateful to Barbara Banke and Jess Jackson for sharing this vision of sustainability and partnering with us on this new building.”

"My family and I are committed to the advancement of sustainable winemaking, and sustainable agriculture," says Barbara Banke, Jackson Family Wines chairman, co-founder and proprietor.

"We are so proud that the Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building, named for my late husband and founder of Jackson Family Wines, will support research and innovation in sustainable viticulture and winemaking,” she said. “Our next generation of winemakers and environmental scientists will be better prepared to further the sustainability of our already green industry.”

The building will be located on the south side of UC Davis’ one-year-old Teaching and Research Winery and August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

It will include 10 dedicated, modular spaces that will contain equipment for various processes including high-purity filtration of rainwater that can be used for cleaning fermentors and barrels in the winery. Ninety percent of the water and chemicals from each winery cleaning cycle will be captured and processed for future use in the complex, eventually being used as many as 10 times.

In addition, the building will sequester carbon dioxide captured from all fermentations in the winery and convert it into calcium carbonate, or chalk, which will be given to a plasterboard company. The building also will produce chilled water using an icemaker powered by electricity from solar panels and will be equipped to generate hydrogen gas by electrolysis and produce nighttime energy using a hydrogen fuel cell.

One room in the new building will house the control system and data hub for the many processing systems, and two rooms will be held for future research projects and equipment trials related to any aspect of water and energy use or sustainable systems.

“The building is designed so that each of these systems can be removed and replaced with a newer model, making it an evolving test-bed and demonstration site,” said Professor Roger Boulton, a winery engineering expert and the Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology at UC Davis. He noted that the building’s control and data system will be designed to monitor and display the water, energy, carbon and chemistry footprints in real time, and manage the operation of all utilities and the building environment.

In December 2010, UC Davis’ Teaching and Research Winery became the first winery in the world to receive LEED platinum certification, the highest rating for environmental design and construction awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) Located in the same building, the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory also became the first such facility to achieve LEED platinum certification.

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