• Napa Valley Wine Region
    Napa Valley Wine Region

The Science of Food and Wine, Napa and Sonoma

Travel Program

Explore the science of food and wine and learn how Napa and Sonoma create some of the world's most distinctive vintages with wine connoisseurs David Baltimore and Alice Huang. Experience a hands-on cooking class and exclusive winery tours and tastings with Caltech's renowned chef and pranking guru Tom Mannion.

November 8-12, 2017

Napa and Sonoma are so much greater than the grape. These Northern California valleys are among the most beautiful places in America. Join friends and three distinguished members of the Caltech community, David Baltimore, Alice Huang, and Tom Mannion, on a journey of exploration into the science of food and wine in this stunning region. 

We have limited capacity, so we recommend that you book as soon as possible! For the full itinerary and pricing, visit the trip websiteTo reserve your spot, register here. For inquiries, please contact Classic Journeys: moreinfo@classicjourneys.com or (858) 454-5004.
This trip is now open to all Associates. For questions, please contact Cathy Axibal-Cordero at caltechassociates@caltech.edu or (626) 395-1335.


David Baltimore

David Baltimore served as President of Caltech for nine years, then was appointed President Emeritus and the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology in 2006. Awarded the Nobel Prize at the age of 37 for research in virology, Baltimore has profoundly influenced national science policy on such issues as recombinant DNA research and the AIDS epidemic. He is an accomplished researcher, educator, administrator and public advocate for science and engineering and is considered one of the world's most influential biologists. Baltimore received his BA from Swarthmore College and his PhD from Rockefeller University.


Alice Huang

Alice Huang is a distinguished virologist and proponent for women in science. She joined Caltech in 1997 and is a Senior Faculty Associate in Biology. Prior to Caltech, Huang was Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and subsequently Dean for Science at New York University. She served on the Board of Trustees of the Keystone Center, University of Massachusetts, Johns Hopkins University, the Rockefeller Foundation, Waksman Foundation for Microbiology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in which she served as President from 2010-11. She is also a fellow of American Women in Science, the Academy of Microbiology, and the AAAS. Additionally, Huang holds a private pilot certificate.

Tom Mannion

Tom Mannion joined Caltech in 1993. He organizes student events, pranks, clubs, leadership development, and other areas of student life. In 2003, Mannion started the class PA-16 Cooking Basics, which is often referred to as the most popular elective class on campus. Mannion received his BA and MA in International Relations at George Washington University. He earned certificates from the Culinary Institute of America in Wine, Wine and Food Pairing, Mediterranean Cuisine, to name a few. His work has been featured on CNN and local networks, as well as in Newsweek, Reuters, and newspapers across the country. During an interview with Pat Morrison of NPR, Stephen Hawking, who was a cooking class regular, rated Mannion's food two Michelin stars!



Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Napa Valley
We meet in Sacramento and drive a short distance to the Robert Mondavi Insitute at UC Davis, where we will learn about innovations in wine and food sciences research. Blind wine expert Dr. Hoby Wedler will lead a tasting in the dark, which will engage all your senses and illuminate how sight can frame judgements about wine before we even taste it. Later in the afternoon, we check into the Vintage Inn, nestled in the Napa town of Yountville.

Thursday, November 9, 2017
St. Helena/Yountville
In the morning, we spend a memorable 
few hours in a professional kitchen for an in-depth master class on wine and food pairing at the Culinary Institute of America. We will then visit the elegant, ivy-covered Inglenook Château for a tasting paired with artisanal cheeses. In the evening, Caltech alums Chris Flatt ('04) and Anita Choi ('04) will open their St. Helena home for an evening reception with friends. We will enjoy wine and hors d'oeuvres with stunning views from their backyard of the end of the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Friday, November 10, 2017
Tomales Bay/Healdsburg

A scenic drive takes us west from Napa Valley to Tomales Bay. Here we visit a famous oyster farm and learn about the aquaculture of the bay, including how oysters are grown and harvested. Late this afternoon we arrive in Healdsburg to experience a leisurely progressive food and wine tasting tour.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

This morning we journey south to historic Sonoma, where we will be guided through the Sonoma Mission and square. Not far down the road lies the Carneros region, the grape-growing area that spans the southern edges of Sonoma and Napa Valleys.