For the Love of Wine

TJ and Valeta Rodgers

TJ and Valeta Rodgers built and donated 152 stainless-steel fermentation tanks to the UC Davis research winery.

Professionally, TJ Rodgers is the founder and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor Corporation. Personally, he’s a wine lover who spends a great deal of time thinking about wine—and about how to make the best wine possible.

Personal and professional interests converged beautifully late one night when Rodgers began sketching what would become the world’s first wirelessly-controlled, automated wine fermentation system.

Having already partnered with UC Davis on other projects, TJ and his wife Valeta felt this innovation and technology belonged in only one place: the UC Davis Teaching and Research Winery.

“When I had an opportunity to help the school that helped me,” TJ said, “I took it.”  

The Rodgers’ $3.5 million investment in equipment and engineering for the 150 research fermentors and their related data system is the most significant gift to the Teaching and Research Winery since its construction. The gift has catapulted the program beyond anyone’s imaginations.

“This fermentation system is unlike anything commercially-available to production or research wineries,” said Professor Roger Boulton, the Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology at UC Davis. “It provides an unequalled level of precision and control to every one of our experiments. Any fermentation curve can now be viewed on a cell phone anywhere in the world.” 

One World, One UC DavisThese ONE hundred stories represent the people who transformed UC Davis through their generous support of our first comprehensive fundraising campaign, which ended May 31, 2013. Together, these stories are the ONE story of The Campaign for UC Davis.

(Content last updated May 31, 2014)