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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin MW

Carole Meredith, whose ground-breaking DNA research traced the origins of Zinfandel to Croatia, is to retire from her position as professor of viticulture and oenology at the University of California, Davis. The world-famous plant geneticist will leave the university on 5 January 2003, her 55th birthday, to concentrate on Lagier Meredith, the Mount Veeder winery she co-owns with her husband, Stephen Lagier. Meredith cites 60-hour weeks and the desire to establish her winery as one of California's best Syrah producers as the reasons for her departure from Davis. I felt it was time to do something else,' she told Harpers in a forthcoming exclusive interview. I'm so glad that my work on Zinfandel was the last thing I did at Davis. It was the highlight of my career as a scientist. It was the result of a fruitful collaboration with academics in Croatia and it solved a mystery.' Lagier Meredith produces only one wine, a Syrah. The first commercial vintage from the 1.6 hectare high-altitude (400 metre) vineyard was the 1998. The current release, which was bottled in January 2002, is the 2000, retailing in the US at $50 a bottle. The wine is not yet available in the UK.