Carole Meredith

Carole Meredith

Lagier Meredith (Winemaker Emerita)

Carole Meredith was born in Wales (UK) and as a child emigrated with her parents to Canada and from there to California, where they settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. She became interested in science as a small child and by high school had narrowed that interest to plants. After first earning a B.S. degree in Biology in 1969 from UC Davis, her fascination with the diversity of marigold varieties led her to study plant genetics at the graduate level, completing a Ph.D. degree in 1977, also from Davis.

In 1980, she joined the faculty of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, and spent 22 years there, pioneering the use of DNA typing to analyze relationships among Vitis vinifera grape varieties. She and her research collaborators determined the genetic and geographic origins of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah, and many other varieties. This research shed new light on wine history and dispelled long-held myths about the origins of classic wine grapes. Her discovery, working with colleagues from the University of Zagreb, of the European home of Zinfandel in Croatia has provided California growers with a source for new clones and revealed Zinfandel’s ancient history as a major wine grape in the Adriatic region. An international cooperative consortium that she founded led to the development of a grape genome map that has become the basis for identifying genes that control disease resistance and fruit quality in wine grapes.

Professor Meredith was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1990 and Chevalière de l’Ordre du Mèrite Agricole by the Republic of France in 2000. In 2009, she was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame and received the California State Fair’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. She retired from UC Davis as Professor Emerita in 2003.

Since 1986, she and her husband, Steve Lagier, have lived on their small vineyard in the Mount Veeder district of Napa, where they grew Syrah, Mondeuse, Zinfandel, and Malbec, and produce Lagier Meredith wines. They turned over management of the vineyard to nearby friends in mid-2022.