Serendipity (the phenomenon of finding something valuable or delightful when you are looking for something else) aptly describes the career trajectory taken by UBRP alumnus Dr. David Bellows. Bellows arrived at the University of Arizona in 1993 intent on becoming a winemaker after a previous career as cellar master in New York City and beverage manager at a resort hotel in Sun Valley, Idaho. With his sights on UC Davis, he entered the biochemistry program in the UA College of Agriculture and chose John Law’s insect biochemistry lab as his UBRP home. Seduced by the shiny toys in the laboratory and the thrill of a moment of discovery, he postponed enology study, instead earning a PhD in Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine followed by a postdoc in yeast proteomics/genomics at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto. His next stop was a faculty position at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand where he helped establish the university’s chemical genetics laboratory, and then in 2011 he returned to the United States and one of his first loves, wine making.
Now a winemaker at Vidon Vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, he describes his stint in academia as a “creative detour.” “Serendipity, or being open to the unexpected is important in science”, Bellows said. “For example, Kary Mullis was only looking for a way to use the oligonucleotides that his company made to identify SNP’s for genetic testing when he stumbled on the idea for PCR and changed the field of Molecular Biology”. “I think the same mindset should apply to career opportunities”, he said. “Almost every job I have had in this crazy-quilt I call a career has been useful in the next job in totally unexpected ways,” he marveled. “And besides, it’s been incredibly fun.” He was featured in a June 2017 article in the Wine Industry Advisor. See: https://www.wineindustryadvisor.com/2017/06/30/vidon-vineyard-doubles-phd-winemakers.