UC Davis Receives $12.5 Million Bequest for Wine Program

The University of California, Davis has announced a bequest of more than $12.5 million for its wine-making and grape-growing program from the estate of Napa Valley native Louise Rossi.

The gift represents the Rossi family's proceeds from the sale of their fifty-two-acre ranch and will be used to establish an endowment for research projects that improve sustainable production practices and enhance the flavor of grapes and wine. To accomplish those goals, the gift will finance the purchase of equipment for the new Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. In addition, the university's Department of Viticulture & Enology plans to establish one or more endowed chairs in honor of Louise Rossi and her late brother, Ray, to support faculty positions focused on winemaking and grape growing.

"Throughout her long life, Louise remained passionately committed to the art and business of winemaking and grape growing, and was fiercely proud of her family ranch's role in the history of the Napa Valley," said Elizabeth Leeds, a longtime friends and co-executor of Rossi's estate. "Louise's gift, which has been planned for many years, is intended to help build upon UC Davis's world-class wine-making and grape-growing programs, while honoring nearly a century of grape growing and wine making by her family at the Rossi Ranch."

"$12.5 Million Gift to Support Wine Program." University of California, Davis Press Release 11/16/2007.