The university is headquartered in the city of Berkeley in Alameda County, on the mainland side of the San Francisco Bay in the US state California, Additional branches are located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Davis. In 1880 it was decided to make wine and oenology as new branches. However, since Berkeley had bad climatic conditions for viticulture, a branch was set up in the interior of the country in the city of Davis (Davis is a common abbreviation for the viticulture branch). The then agricultural professor Eugene Hilgard (as one of several) put the great importance of the finishing fighting the phylloxera and the relationship between climate and more suitable for it vine firmly. Through the prohibition (1920-1933) the activities were severely restricted. Shortly after the ban was lifted, the department of viticulture was revived at the university in 1935. The focus was on the analysis of grape varieties and the training of the new generation of winegrowers.
In 1944, after extensive investigations, the Californian wine-growing areas were divided into five climatic zones according to the so-called heat accumulation method (see the classification below California ), with the scientist Albert J. Winkler (1894-1989). The oenologist and publicist Maynard A. Amerine (1911-1998) was dedicated to the investigation of the suitability of grape varieties for different climates and the reconstruction of the by prohibition lost knowledge of viticulture. Through numerous new breeds and worldwide consultancy, Dr. Harold P. Olmo (1909-2006). The vine specialist Dr. Carole Meredith clarified by means of DNA analysis the origin of some grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah and Zinfandel, In the mid-1980s, Prof. Ann C. Noble (* 1935) the so-called aroma wheel developed in which the wine flavors are divided into 12 main groups. Most of the wine and winery technology professionals working in California have been trained in Davis.