The UC Davis Cal Aggie Alumni Association announced today that Warren Winiarski — winemaker, land preservationist, and long-time supporter of the UC Davis Library’s collections on wine and wine writing — will be this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Friend of the University award. We are delighted that Warren will receive this significant and well deserved honor from UC Davis, where he has made such tremendous contributions to advance research and preserve the history of California’s wine industry.
Here at the library, Warren’s vision became the seed for our growing wine writer collection, an important component of what world-famous wine writer Hugh Johnson called the “greatest wine library in the world.” The library’s wine collection is an unparalleled resource that draws scholars of winemaking, culture and history from around the globe to UC Davis.
Warren’s establishment of the the Warren Winiarski Wine Writer Collection at the library two years ago has already enabled us to acquire nearly two dozen important archives, which tell the story of the Napa wine region, and build awareness of these collections for use by students, faculty, scholars and the community at large. Warren’s gift to establish the program was among the largest in the library’s history and he has helped us in countless other ways. We are deeply grateful for his ongoing support.
Warren has also generously supported the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) for many years. Still actively growing wine grapes at 93, Warren is now underwriting the modernization of the Amerine-Winkler Heat Summation Index, a project started in the 1930s by the late CAES faculty members Maynard Amerine and Albert Winkler. Led by Department of Viticulture and Enology Assistant Professor Dr. Elisabeth Forrestel, the project measures the effects of heat on plant physiology and grape maturity. With the threat of climate change looming ever larger in the Napa Valley, the Winkler Index is a critical tool that will help inform how vintners grow grapes today and well into the future. This is but one of many examples of Warren’s long-standing commitment to the environment and support for UC Davis’ viticultural research.
And he has given of his time and expertise, hosting UC Davis students on visits to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. On several occasions he personally walked the vineyard with those students, describing the geology and soil types of the site where he grew grapes for his award-winning wines.
An ideal university partner, Warren has nurtured UC Davis’ expertise in winemaking and helped preserve and expand the library’s world-renowned wine collections. Wherever UC Davis is known for its leadership in wine, let it be known that Warren’s insight, connections and generous support as a friend of the university has helped to make it so.
Warren, thank you and congratulations. We look forward to celebrating with you in May.