Is There Such a Thing as a Wild Yeast Fermentation? In the August issue of Wine Business Monthly, writer Andy Perdue presents some new research on the topic.
That exotic yeast you used to ferment your wine? It probably didn’t. That wild yeast fermentation you prefer? It probably isn’t. So suggests three years of research at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada.
“The winemaker assumes that what they inoculate with is what they get in their fermentations,” said Dan Durall, a biology professor at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan in Kelowna, British Columbia, who has led the research since 2010.
His investigation indicates that likely is inaccurate: The yeast strain you think is fermenting your wine probably isn’t doing the job—unless it is a dominant commercial strain. The study began in 2010 when graduate student Jessica N. Lange spent time at three Okanagan Valley wineries to study yeast during multiple stages of fermentation in Pinot Noir. Lange collected samples during cold soak then during early, mid and late stages of fermentation.
What she found was startling: Regardless of which yeast started the fermentation—indigenous or otherwise—a dominant commercial strain took over during the process, essentially wiping out any other forms of yeast that might have been present, Durall said.
For the full story, look for the August issue of Wine Business Monthly, hitting mailboxes late July.