What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Message
Author
User avatar
Blake Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5864
Joined: May 2nd, 2010, 11:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#1 Post by Blake Brown » April 15th, 2018, 10:37 pm

This is a somewhat brief and interesting discussion of indigenous vs. cultured yeast in winemaking.

It highlights the mutated strain that became the proprietary blend for Williams Selyem yeast which is considered to be a powerful yeast especially for fermenting Pinot Noir which Burt Williams captured during his tenure in the 1980s.

https://www.reversewinesnob.com/native- ... winemaking
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

Gerhard P.
Posts: 4844
Joined: April 28th, 2010, 11:06 pm
Location: Graz/Austria

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#2 Post by Gerhard P. » April 16th, 2018, 1:44 am

The natural yeasts are an important quality and factor of terroir expression of a certain vineyard site ... so for producing individual wines true to their terroir it would be good to use (only) natural yeast ...

On the other hand they are less save ... they can start fermentation (too) slowly ... they can develope and amplify undesired flavors ... so to use cultured yeasts seems to be much safer ...

I know producers of both (and also mixed) practices ... and both can produce fine wines ...
[shrug.gif]
Gerhard Pr@esent
composer / AT

User avatar
Blake Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5864
Joined: May 2nd, 2010, 11:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#3 Post by Blake Brown » April 16th, 2018, 2:28 am

Gerhard P. wrote:The natural yeasts are an important quality and factor of terroir expression of a certain vineyard site ... so for producing individual wines true to their terroir it would be good to use (only) natural yeast ...

On the other hand they are less save ... they can start fermentation (too) slowly ... they can develope and amplify undesired flavors ... so to use cultured yeasts seems to be much safer ...

I know producers of both (and also mixed) practices ... and both can produce fine wines ...
[shrug.gif]
It appears to me that in general, the best is a combo of both. Obviously, the style of the wine should have a big influence on which way a winemaker goes. Also, the climate has to be factored in.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

User avatar
Otto Forsberg
Posts: 829
Joined: December 28th, 2017, 4:26 am
Location: Finland

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#4 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 16th, 2018, 8:33 am

From what I've understood, many producers who do natural wines or otherwise stick solely with indigenous yeasts, tend to use pied de cuve - that's doing a small batch of wine (in the ballpark of a few liters) by crushing a handful of bunches and letting the indigenous yeasts start fermentation there.

When the actual harvest day comes, you have a good dose of actively fermenting indigenous yeasts you can just dump into the freshly crushed lot, not needing to worry how long it takes before the yeasts in the freshly harvest bunches kick in.

User avatar
Blake Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5864
Joined: May 2nd, 2010, 11:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#5 Post by Blake Brown » April 16th, 2018, 8:35 am

Great info. Makes sense. I’ve got to start asking some of wine making buddies what they do.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

User avatar
John Morris
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 16758
Joined: June 21st, 2009, 2:09 pm
Location: Gotham

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#6 Post by John Morris » April 16th, 2018, 8:59 am

Blake Brown wrote: It appears to me that in general, the best is a combo of both. Obviously, the style of the wine should have a big influence on which way a winemaker goes. Also, the climate has to be factored in.
I'm not sure what you mean by a combo. Not in the same wine, I assume. My understanding is that if you put the commercial yeast in, they take over because they're bred to act quickly.
"I pencilled in half an hour to suffer fools tomorrow, but now I’m thinking I might bump it out until Monday." -- @duchessgoldblat

“Only he who has walked through the deepest valley knows how other valleys of lesser depth are relatively more walk-throughable, valley-wise.” – @TheTweetOfGod

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7723
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#7 Post by larry schaffer » April 16th, 2018, 9:44 am

Here is the bottom line question I continue to ask:

Is it clear by tasting or smelling a wine in bottle that that wine was fermented with 'native' yeast vs. cultured yeast?

How important is the yeast choice to the finished, bottled wine - especially if that wine was aged in oak?

Cheers.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
ky1em!ttskus
Posts: 4500
Joined: January 27th, 2012, 7:38 am

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#8 Post by ky1em!ttskus » April 16th, 2018, 9:45 am

I thought the native yeast added to the voodoo? newhere

User avatar
John Morris
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 16758
Joined: June 21st, 2009, 2:09 pm
Location: Gotham

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#9 Post by John Morris » April 16th, 2018, 10:07 am

larry schaffer wrote:Here is the bottom line question I continue to ask:

Is it clear by tasting or smelling a wine in bottle that that wine was fermented with 'native' yeast vs. cultured yeast?

How important is the yeast choice to the finished, bottled wine - especially if that wine was aged in oak?

Cheers.
Good question. I have no idea. But I do know that a high proportion of the wines I like best use native yeasts.
"I pencilled in half an hour to suffer fools tomorrow, but now I’m thinking I might bump it out until Monday." -- @duchessgoldblat

“Only he who has walked through the deepest valley knows how other valleys of lesser depth are relatively more walk-throughable, valley-wise.” – @TheTweetOfGod

Todd Hamina
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 3868
Joined: February 3rd, 2009, 2:16 pm
Location: McMinnville, OR

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#10 Post by Todd Hamina » April 16th, 2018, 10:24 am

Well, without putting the yeast under a microscope to determine it is not a volunteered cultured yeast strain the arguement is always conjecture. The only way to know if you have a native ferment is to put it under the microscope. Period.

Everything else is wishful thinking.

I know, not a sexy viewpoint whatsoever.

Truth hits everbody, truth hits everyone.
Co-Owner, Biggio Hamina Cellars
-BiggioHamina

User avatar
Otto Forsberg
Posts: 829
Joined: December 28th, 2017, 4:26 am
Location: Finland

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#11 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 16th, 2018, 10:32 am

larry schaffer wrote:Here is the bottom line question I continue to ask:

Is it clear by tasting or smelling a wine in bottle that that wine was fermented with 'native' yeast vs. cultured yeast?

How important is the yeast choice to the finished, bottled wine - especially if that wine was aged in oak?

Cheers.
Some wines are obviously fermented spontaneously and some wines are even more obviously fermented with cultured yeasts. However, with a majority of wines (probably ~80% or even more) I can't tell how they are fermented.

Yet, I tend to prefer wines that are fermented with indigenous yeasts or even spontaneously. I've noticed this when I write tasting notes and I check up on the background data on the wines, many times the wines that I enjoy are also ones fermented with spontaneous yeasts. (And this doesn't automatically translate to me not liking wines fermented with cultured yeasts!)

I guess yeast choice always matters, no matter where it is aged in. However, if you are now specifically referring to new oak (and its tendency to obfuscate aromas), I find excessive oak use a much bigger problem than poor yeast choice. If one is making wines aged in 100% new oak, I feel that very rarely even the fruit quality matters much, let alone yeast choices. Of course you can come up with hundreds of examples that prove the opposite, but this is just a personal preference.

User avatar
Bruce Leiser_owitz
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 12541
Joined: June 16th, 2009, 12:54 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#12 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » April 16th, 2018, 11:02 am

larry schaffer wrote:Here is the bottom line question I continue to ask:

Is it clear by tasting or smelling a wine in bottle that that wine was fermented with 'native' yeast vs. cultured yeast?

How important is the yeast choice to the finished, bottled wine - especially if that wine was aged in oak?

Cheers.
For the average wine consumer, they won't be able to smell/taste a wine and identify native vs. cultured yeast fermentation.
Assuming they even understand the technical distinction.

Bruce
"Bruce you are correct."--Andrew Kaufman, 3/24/13.

User avatar
ky1em!ttskus
Posts: 4500
Joined: January 27th, 2012, 7:38 am

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#13 Post by ky1em!ttskus » April 16th, 2018, 11:06 am

Otto, I respectfully call BS to your first paragraph. And your second is probably due to your own bias in purchasing and tasting. You like producers with an ethos that includes native yeasts. You drink those more often. Therefore, you guess correctly more often that the wine you’re drinking was made with native yeasts.

What does “indigenous” or “native” yeast even mean?

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7723
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#14 Post by larry schaffer » April 16th, 2018, 11:12 am

Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
larry schaffer wrote:Here is the bottom line question I continue to ask:

Is it clear by tasting or smelling a wine in bottle that that wine was fermented with 'native' yeast vs. cultured yeast?

How important is the yeast choice to the finished, bottled wine - especially if that wine was aged in oak?

Cheers.
For the average wine consumer, they won't be able to smell/taste a wine and identify native vs. cultured yeast fermentation.
Assuming they even understand the technical distinction.

Bruce
So does that mean you feel that experienced tasters can differentiate? I'm not sure I agree with that.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
Otto Forsberg
Posts: 829
Joined: December 28th, 2017, 4:26 am
Location: Finland

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#15 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 16th, 2018, 11:18 am

ky1em!ttskus wrote:Otto, I respectfully call BS to your first paragraph.
So I should tell apart more easily which wines are made with which yeasts?
And your second is probably due to your own bias in purchasing and tasting. You like producers with an ethos that includes native yeasts. You drink those more often. Therefore, you guess correctly more often that the wine you’re drinking was made with native yeasts.
But my point was that when I don't know anything on the wine or producer beforehand.
What does “indigenous” or “native” yeast even mean?
I guess internet is pretty full of articles on this topic.

While it is true that many times the same saccharomyces strains (ambient yeasts in the winery) finish the fermentation even when it was fermented spontaneously, much of the complexity comes from the beginning of the fermentation, when the alcohol levels are still low and many other wild strains flourish while saccharomyces is still holding back.

User avatar
Scott G r u n e r
Posts: 3400
Joined: June 6th, 2009, 9:03 pm
Location: Seattleish

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#16 Post by Scott G r u n e r » April 16th, 2018, 11:19 am

larry schaffer wrote:
Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
larry schaffer wrote:Here is the bottom line question I continue to ask:

Is it clear by tasting or smelling a wine in bottle that that wine was fermented with 'native' yeast vs. cultured yeast?

How important is the yeast choice to the finished, bottled wine - especially if that wine was aged in oak?

Cheers.
For the average wine consumer, they won't be able to smell/taste a wine and identify native vs. cultured yeast fermentation.
Assuming they even understand the technical distinction.

Bruce
So does that mean you feel that experienced tasters can differentiate? I'm not sure I agree with that.
Larry- I think this calls for a controlled experiment- and as a winemaker you are just the guy to do it!

FWIW- I have always wondered if this is a big part of the cause of the "Rocks" character in Cayuse and Reynvaan wines- As I understand Cayuse has always been using native yeasts and I was told in the past by several winemakers in Walla Walla that they were fearful of using native yeasts as they didn't want to end up with a stopped fermentation, or some other risk factors by not controlling the yeast.
//Cynic

User avatar
Otto Forsberg
Posts: 829
Joined: December 28th, 2017, 4:26 am
Location: Finland

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#17 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 16th, 2018, 11:21 am

larry schaffer wrote: So does that mean you feel that experienced tasters can differentiate? I'm not sure I agree with that.
It's pretty easy to differentiate inexpensive Chilean wines made with cultured yeasts because they create so much varietally atypical aromatics that are a dead giveaway, just like Duboeuf's use of that one specific Lallemand yeast strain to boost the banana aromatics in the low-end Beaujolais wines.

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7723
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#18 Post by larry schaffer » April 16th, 2018, 11:25 am

Otto Forsberg wrote:
larry schaffer wrote: So does that mean you feel that experienced tasters can differentiate? I'm not sure I agree with that.
It's pretty easy to differentiate inexpensive Chilean wines made with cultured yeasts because they create so much varietally atypical aromatics that are a dead giveaway, just like Duboeuf's use of that one specific Lallemand yeast strain to boost the banana aromatics in the low-end Beaujolais wines.
My guess is that the majority of the aromatic compounds you were picking up are probably due to Oak additives or Oak barrels more than they are due to any kind of yeast. Just my guess.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
Otto Forsberg
Posts: 829
Joined: December 28th, 2017, 4:26 am
Location: Finland

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#19 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 16th, 2018, 11:29 am

larry schaffer wrote:
Otto Forsberg wrote:
larry schaffer wrote: So does that mean you feel that experienced tasters can differentiate? I'm not sure I agree with that.
It's pretty easy to differentiate inexpensive Chilean wines made with cultured yeasts because they create so much varietally atypical aromatics that are a dead giveaway, just like Duboeuf's use of that one specific Lallemand yeast strain to boost the banana aromatics in the low-end Beaujolais wines.
My guess is that the majority of the aromatic compounds you were picking up are probably due to Oak additives or Oak barrels more than they are due to any kind of yeast. Just my guess.
Nope. These are wines that are supposed to be aged in stainless steel tanks with no oak additives. And oak additives usually don't give you that distinct blackcurrant note that tends to be identical in a great majority of Chilean inexpensive wines, be it Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Carignan or Merlot.

The greatest instance here was when one producer had a mix-up with a wine lot and a batch of Syrah fermented with a yeast suited for fermenting Riesling arrived. These red wines smelled like kerosene.

And the Lallemand banana aroma is definitely not an oak note.

User avatar
Jim Anderson
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 5478
Joined: October 20th, 2010, 1:18 pm
Location: Portland/Newberg, Oregon

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#20 Post by Jim Anderson » April 16th, 2018, 11:30 am

Todd Hamina wrote:Well, without putting the yeast under a microscope to determine it is not a volunteered cultured yeast strain the arguement is always conjecture. The only way to know if you have a native ferment is to put it under the microscope. Period.

Everything else is wishful thinking.

I know, not a sexy viewpoint whatsoever.

Truth hits everbody, truth hits everyone.
Don't worry, you're still sexy.
Co-owner, Patricia Green Cellars

User avatar
William Kelley
Posts: 1467
Joined: June 4th, 2014, 1:36 am
Location: London, Calistoga & Beaune

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#21 Post by William Kelley » April 16th, 2018, 11:30 am

The Williams Selyem yeast strain was isolated from Martinelli's Jackass Hill Zinfandel vineyard. For decades, the Martinelli family had been spreading the pomace from successful ferments back on the vineyard, inoculating the vineyard, if you will (which used to be common in the Old World too). The strain that came to dominate that niche is capable of fermenting very high sugar musts to dryness and is able to withstand high temperatures (>105 degrees).

I have always suspected that the microbiome of the vineyards of France was heavily disrupted by the use of synthetic fungicides and other agrochemicals.

People are very naive about this subject. As Peynaud says, 'the winemaker must imagine that every surface of the winery is entirely covered with a film of yeast' (or words to that effect). So what does a 'native' fermentation mean? When DRC ferment their wines with ambient microbes, what are the chances that those microbes include the selected yeasts used in the vats of Gros Frères et Soeurs not far away? When Mugneret-Gibourg do native ferments today, having inoculated in the past, how many of the strains they used to employ remain in the winery buildings and involve themselves in the fermentations?

While today, few producers in Burgundy admit to inoculating, the availability of selected microbial cultures in the enology stores on the Beaune ring road seem to suggest that some demand remains. It's not something I tend to interrogate producers about, not only because the philosophy behind the debate is a little confused, but also because I wouldn't count on getting an honest answer.
The Wine Advocate

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7723
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#22 Post by larry schaffer » April 16th, 2018, 11:33 am

And to add to all of this, I know more than one producer who does all Native ferments according to his marketing, but keeps select commercial yeast strains and use them often hear the end of fermentation is to make sure that is native fermentations do not stick.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
Jim Anderson
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 5478
Joined: October 20th, 2010, 1:18 pm
Location: Portland/Newberg, Oregon

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#23 Post by Jim Anderson » April 16th, 2018, 11:39 am

We have not added cultured yeast to Pinot Noir* (I will get to that in a second) since we started Patricia Green Cellars. However, back at Torii Mor we ran cultured vs. native yeast trials in 1995 and 1996 and there were clear differences between the wines. Obviously, this is completely anecdotal and old information but still I guess it is something.

In the 2016 vintage we took on a new block of 20ish year old Wadensvil Clone Pinot Noir. We did so knowing there was some vine stress that they were working on but was likely not going to be worked out that vintage. Being stubborn (as well as seeing the chemistry on the must) I decided to ferment it like all our other cuvees. It crapped out around 2 brix and despite using our regularly reliable natural way to kick a sluggish/stuck fermentation back it became clear that a more aggressive tact was going to be needed. The re-start protocol for a stuck fermentation is quite something. I will be glad to never do it again. It works. And that wine definitely showed a distinctly different character than anything else in the cellar. Not bad. Just way different.
Co-owner, Patricia Green Cellars

User avatar
Otto Forsberg
Posts: 829
Joined: December 28th, 2017, 4:26 am
Location: Finland

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#24 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 16th, 2018, 11:40 am

larry schaffer wrote:And to add to all of this, I know more than one producer who does all Native ferments according to his marketing, but keeps select commercial yeast strains and use them often hear the end of fermentation is to make sure that is native fermentations do not stick.
Not the first one I hear doing this. After all, most of the complexity comes from the beginning of the fermentation and usually one (or a few) strain of saccharomyces dominates through the latter half. I see no biggie in using a cultured strain here, because many wild saccharomyces strains can be quite finicky finishing the fermentation to full dryness. At that point most strains contribute rather little impact to the finished wine.

Unless one lobs in a packet of "flavor" yeast. I suspect those bastards can show through even when pitched in the last minute.

User avatar
Otto Forsberg
Posts: 829
Joined: December 28th, 2017, 4:26 am
Location: Finland

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#25 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 16th, 2018, 11:44 am

Jim Anderson wrote:However, back at Torii Mor we ran cultured vs. native yeast trials in 1995 and 1996 and there were clear differences between the wines.

And that wine definitely showed a distinctly different character than anything else in the cellar. Not bad. Just way different.
These reflect pretty much what I've noticed as well. I don't mean that wines fermented with a single cultured yeast strain are bad or you can easily pinpoint the difference between a fermentation with cultured yeasts and a spontaneous fermentation, but they are often not even that subtly different and more often than not my preference is on the wild ferment.

Todd Hamina
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 3868
Joined: February 3rd, 2009, 2:16 pm
Location: McMinnville, OR

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#26 Post by Todd Hamina » April 16th, 2018, 12:02 pm

Thanks Jim, right back at ya.

This is also why I like the term "spontaneous" since it covers the bases without getting into a kerkuffle.
Co-Owner, Biggio Hamina Cellars
-BiggioHamina

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7723
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#27 Post by larry schaffer » April 16th, 2018, 12:32 pm

Otto Forsberg wrote:
larry schaffer wrote:
Otto Forsberg wrote:
It's pretty easy to differentiate inexpensive Chilean wines made with cultured yeasts because they create so much varietally atypical aromatics that are a dead giveaway, just like Duboeuf's use of that one specific Lallemand yeast strain to boost the banana aromatics in the low-end Beaujolais wines.
My guess is that the majority of the aromatic compounds you were picking up are probably due to Oak additives or Oak barrels more than they are due to any kind of yeast. Just my guess.
Nope. These are wines that are supposed to be aged in stainless steel tanks with no oak additives. And oak additives usually don't give you that distinct blackcurrant note that tends to be identical in a great majority of Chilean inexpensive wines, be it Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Carignan or Merlot.

The greatest instance here was when one producer had a mix-up with a wine lot and a batch of Syrah fermented with a yeast suited for fermenting Riesling arrived. These red wines smelled like kerosene.

And the Lallemand banana aroma is definitely not an oak note.
So you believe that the kerosene in a wine is caused by a specific yeast? That is an interesting concept that I have not heard before. I'd love to get some confirmation on that from others.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
Otto Forsberg
Posts: 829
Joined: December 28th, 2017, 4:26 am
Location: Finland

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#28 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 16th, 2018, 12:40 pm

larry schaffer wrote:
So you believe that the kerosene in a wine is caused by a specific yeast? That is an interesting concept that I have not heard before. I'd love to get some confirmation on that from others.
Those flavor yeasts are definitely not a new phenomenon. They are certain yeast strains that make flavors out of certain flavor precursors. Just check out some yeast producer catalogues what kind of flavors their can "emphasize" in a wine.

The idea is that they can't produce flavors out of nowhere, i.e. if the grape varieties don't contain any flavor precursors, the yeasts can't produce that specific flavor. However, many grape varieties contain compounds that don't produce noticeable aromas over normal fermentation, but certain commercial yeast strains can crank out that flavor basically from any wine possible. The cassis note in Chilean red wines is a textbook example.

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7723
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#29 Post by larry schaffer » April 16th, 2018, 12:47 pm

I'm very familiar with yeast catalogs, and they are very good at marketing products. That said, after doing literally hundreds of different fermentations, I can honestly say that what these companies say will happen with regards to flavor, Aroma, and texture rarely ever does.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
ky1em!ttskus
Posts: 4500
Joined: January 27th, 2012, 7:38 am

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#30 Post by ky1em!ttskus » April 16th, 2018, 12:56 pm

Otto Forsberg wrote:
ky1em!ttskus wrote:Otto, I respectfully call BS to your first paragraph.
So I should tell apart more easily which wines are made with which yeasts?
And your second is probably due to your own bias in purchasing and tasting. You like producers with an ethos that includes native yeasts. You drink those more often. Therefore, you guess correctly more often that the wine you’re drinking was made with native yeasts.
But my point was that when I don't know anything on the wine or producer beforehand.
What does “indigenous” or “native” yeast even mean?
I guess internet is pretty full of articles on this topic.

While it is true that many times the same saccharomyces strains (ambient yeasts in the winery) finish the fermentation even when it was fermented spontaneously, much of the complexity comes from the beginning of the fermentation, when the alcohol levels are still low and many other wild strains flourish while saccharomyces is still holding back.
I am saying that there's no way you can pick out blind wines made from indigenous yeasts any better than random chance.

As to your last point, that complexities develop early, what basis do you have for that claim?

User avatar
Otto Forsberg
Posts: 829
Joined: December 28th, 2017, 4:26 am
Location: Finland

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#31 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 16th, 2018, 1:15 pm

ky1em!ttskus wrote:
Otto Forsberg wrote:
While it is true that many times the same saccharomyces strains (ambient yeasts in the winery) finish the fermentation even when it was fermented spontaneously, much of the complexity comes from the beginning of the fermentation, when the alcohol levels are still low and many other wild strains flourish while saccharomyces is still holding back.
I am saying that there's no way you can pick out blind wines made from indigenous yeasts any better than random chance.

As to your last point, that complexities develop early, what basis do you have for that claim?
There's no way? Right after Jim said that the differences between a spontaneously fermented wine and an inoculated wine were very noticeable?

And to my last point: tons of different articles. If you read a lot about yeasts and wine fermentations, you'll notice how basically all researches point out that at the beginning of the fermentation different kinds of yeast strains compete, all producing alcohol and different kinds of metabolites, making the main contribution to the so-called wild fermentation complexity. However, at approximately 5% ABV, the environment has become too difficult for most other yeast strains to survive, save for saccharomyces cerevisiae and brettanomyces. Normally the sulfites have knocked brett out of the game, so the fermentation is finished by saccharomyces, but for example high-pH wines and wines made without sulfites may have a combined fermentation with both brett and sach. If you just inoculate the wine with commercial yeasts in the beginning, you never get the same kind of wild fermentation complexity - which might be intriguing, might be beautiful, might be funky or might be downright unpleasant - and instead get this clean, pure unadulterated flavor profile (in the case of neutral yeasts) or something resembling a flavored beverage (in the case of "flavor yeasts"). And of course you can even make your own yeast blends of different cultivated yeasts.

If you are interested, I can point out you to the direction of informative articles. However, if you are not, please just leave it be. I really am not looking for yet another argument where somebody just comes along refuting my points with "there's no way" kind of claims and I'm knee-deep in an internet forum war.

User avatar
Bruce Leiser_owitz
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 12541
Joined: June 16th, 2009, 12:54 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#32 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » April 16th, 2018, 1:17 pm

larry schaffer wrote:
Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
larry schaffer wrote:Here is the bottom line question I continue to ask:

Is it clear by tasting or smelling a wine in bottle that that wine was fermented with 'native' yeast vs. cultured yeast?

How important is the yeast choice to the finished, bottled wine - especially if that wine was aged in oak?

Cheers.
For the average wine consumer, they won't be able to smell/taste a wine and identify native vs. cultured yeast fermentation.
Assuming they even understand the technical distinction.

Bruce
So does that mean you feel that experienced tasters can differentiate? I'm not sure I agree with that.
Not exactly. I'm saying that if you're on the winemaking team and have a native yeast barrel and a cultured yeast barrel, over time
you may be able to pick out distinctive stylistic difference that you can narrow down to just the yeast. For the rest of us, there
are SO MANY variables that go into winemaking that it's nearly impossible to attribute one characteristic to just the type of yeast.

Bruce
"Bruce you are correct."--Andrew Kaufman, 3/24/13.

User avatar
GregT
Posts: 7947
Joined: April 15th, 2009, 3:12 pm

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#33 Post by GregT » April 16th, 2018, 1:21 pm

If I make wine and you like the yeast and then use it, is it a "commercial" or "cultured" yeast ? These conversations make little sense, especially as there are several yeasts likely to be at work at the beginning, middle, and end and even if you start with something you think is native, a feral yeast can sneak in.

That's why Todd says you have to look under a microscope. Imagine all those people who think they were using the "native" yeasts but it was really something that snuck in from the neighbor. They'll be surprised when they all wake up in hell after they die!
G . T a t a r

[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

User avatar
Jim Anderson
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 5478
Joined: October 20th, 2010, 1:18 pm
Location: Portland/Newberg, Oregon

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#34 Post by Jim Anderson » April 16th, 2018, 1:50 pm

Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
Not exactly. I'm saying that if you're on the winemaking team and have a native yeast barrel and a cultured yeast barrel, over time
you may be able to pick out distinctive stylistic difference that you can narrow down to just the yeast. For the rest of us, there
are SO MANY variables that go into winemaking that it's nearly impossible to attribute one characteristic to just the type of yeast.

Bruce
Yes, I think in an isolated environment where some barrels from the same block were fermented with commercial yeast and some fermented with spontaneous yeast the difference in aromatics, texture (especially) and flavor can be discerned much the way the difference between 33 and 66% would be obvious in an isolated cellar tasting but maybe not so much just out in the wide world trying to guess at it. I think, from a winemaking "production" place, choosing what one wants to do fermentation-wise tells a lot about what sort of slope one is willing to travel down. Working with spontaneous ferments means you are more likely to be willing to work with spontaneous secondary ferments, not add lord knows what else into your fermentations (enzymes, stabilizers, color fixers/enhancers, etc.), not adding lord knows what into your vineyard(s) (pesticides, herbicides, irrigation, etc.), bottle without fining and filtration and so on. I think that the willingness and desire to work with native fermentations is a larger mind set of what sort of wines and what sort of winery one wants to have. I think native ferments speak to a larger view of the agricultural process and the winemaking process as integrated operations. That's my opinion but one based on, at the very least, 25 years of observation.

From the consumer side, maybe you can't taste the difference between one and the other. I am not certain if one could taste the difference between organic peas and non-organic peas (maybe). If it doesn't matter to you it doesn't matter to you. If the, I don't know, live-liness (intentional hyphen) and mindset of a winery in the approach they take to the wines that they produce and vineyards they farm does matter to you (and I think it should) then maybe something as simple as how they go about their fermentations is not just a choice in a small manner of practicality but an insight into what sort of wineries and wines in which you might be interested.
Co-owner, Patricia Green Cellars

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18875
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#35 Post by Alan Rath » April 16th, 2018, 3:55 pm

Otto Forsberg wrote:There's no way? Right after Jim said that the differences between a spontaneously fermented wine and an inoculated wine were very noticeable?
I read Jim's post with interest, but found that I couldn't really conclude that the results were due to differences in yeast, or the stuck fermentation that (probably) allowed a lot of other things to grow during the extra time it took to get the fermentation restarted and ultimately finished.

But on the general topic, there have been numerous discussions over the years. I remember (but can't reference it) at least one scholarly article that concluded most "spontaneous" fermentations aren't due to yeast from the vineyard, but to the native population that haunts the winery essentially permanently. That's why it's always interesting to hear about winemaker experiences when they move into a brand new facility.
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7723
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#36 Post by larry schaffer » April 16th, 2018, 4:28 pm

Generally speaking, there are about 5X the number of 'wild yeast' that reside on the fruit when it comes in compared to saccharomyces yeast on the fruit. These 'wild yeast' are not strong enough to see the ferment through, but can certainly start it and include Kloekera, Dekkera, and all kinds of other yeast that produce some interesting aromas and by-products.

What happens from there is dependent upon a number of things. If you want the wild yeast population to stick around for awhile, you would not use any SO2 and you would keep things relatively cool. If you were into adding any 'yeast nutrients', you might consider doing so now as the yeast in larger numbers - the 'wild' yeast - will continue to survive and thrive for awhile.

Eventually, saccharomyces will win over - whether from a commercial innoculant that is added or from a 'house strain' that can handle higher alcohol levels and more heat.

The tern 'native' should not be confused with the term 'wild' for the latter truly are non-saccharomyces yeast that some believe lead to 'more complexity' in a wine because of what folks smell and perhaps even taste early on during these ferments.

Cheers.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
Merrill Lindquist
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 10897
Joined: July 22nd, 2009, 6:58 pm
Location: Calistoga, Napa Valley, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#37 Post by Merrill Lindquist » April 16th, 2018, 4:38 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
Otto Forsberg wrote:There's no way? Right after Jim said that the differences between a spontaneously fermented wine and an inoculated wine were very noticeable?
I read Jim's post with interest, but found that I couldn't really conclude that the results were due to differences in yeast, or the stuck fermentation that (probably) allowed a lot of other things to grow during the extra time it took to get the fermentation restarted and ultimately finished.

But on the general topic, there have been numerous discussions over the years. I remember (but can't reference it) at least one scholarly article that concluded most "spontaneous" fermentations aren't due to yeast from the vineyard, but to the native population that haunts the winery essentially permanently. That's why it's always interesting to hear about winemaker experiences when they move into a brand new facility.
My understanding is that this is true - stuff hanging around in the cellar at the winery. When you custom crush, as I do, it is pretty much a guarantee, I think. I had my first stuck fermentation this past year. BEFORE the fires. My cellar staff stuck by me and my wine...I am certain it was not a cost effective approach, from the winery's perspective. You build mutual responsibility over lots of years - 18 years of custom crush at Judd's Hill Winery. They had to have police and fire escort in to finish my stuck fermentation, during the fire evacuation. The wines are lovely, although showing a higher ABV than I would like. Conversion rate of sugar to alcohol was likely an instigator, due to the re-start. We will re-check those alcohols, but they are what they are. I will not send it out (or have someone come in) to de-alc my wine. And I would never, ever, sell it if I was not excited about it.
Merrill
EMH Vineyards - Home of the Black Cat
email:Merrill@EMHVineyards.com

TomHill
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 9172
Joined: July 28th, 2009, 9:21 am
Location: LosAlamos, NM

Well.....

#38 Post by TomHill » April 16th, 2018, 4:53 pm

Well...the statement in the article I found interesting was:
But even though cultured yeast may not produce wines as bombastic as the same wine made with indigenous yeast,
Never heard of native yeast ferments tending to produce "bombastic" wines.

Related to this is JamieGoode's article:
https://vinepair.com/articles/yeast-terroir-wine/
on native yeast ferments communicating the "terroir" much better. A much more detailed article on the subject.
Tom

tcavallo
Posts: 159
Joined: November 20th, 2015, 1:59 pm
Location: Hudson Valley, NY

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#39 Post by tcavallo » April 16th, 2018, 5:25 pm

Hah, I was reading the thread through to the end, waiting to post the vinepair article, which is better researched and presented, and includes references to actual studies.

As far as anecdotal evidence goes, all our wines have been native ferments thus far. I have only done a few isolated native vs. inoculated trials with some of our ciders (outside the winery facility) and have found that a number of selected yeast trials (both champagne and cider specific yeasts) have produced far more boring smelling and tasting ciders from the same fruit.

And speaking to the pied de cuve mentioned above, the reasons for that are broader than just getting the yeast going in advance. The idea as I understand it is that it is easier to use only the cleanest fruit when you are hand selecting a small bucket's worth, and also, harvesting a few weeks before the actual harvest date means that acids will be higher. Both of these things allow for a much better environment for saccharomyces to get a head start on any of the baddies that may be lurking in the grapes at actual harvest time.

We are having a lot of conversations about this currently in the Hudson Valley, and some of the larger, old guard wineries (go Whitecliff!) are starting to experiment with native fermentations. Discourse and experimentation can only lead to better things!
T 0 D D
ITB, Wild Arc Farm
IG: @tcavallo or @wildarcfarm

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7723
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#40 Post by larry schaffer » April 16th, 2018, 5:50 pm

I posted that article awhile back here . . .

That article, although interesting, fails to answer the question of whether, at the end of the day, you can actual 'tell the difference' between a 'native' ferment and a ferment conducted with 'commercial yeast'. Yes, we can find different microbes exist in different areas, and yes, there may be some uniqueness to the strain of saccharomyces that eventually finishes the fermentation, but does this lead to a 'different' wine?

The 'conventional wisdom' many who use native continue to state is that these ferments lead to a 'more complex' wine because of the different yeasts that are involved with the process. Interesting. Can someone please define 'more complex' and prove that this is the case?

Todd, your anecdotal info is interesting for sure, and I'm glad to hear that there is more experimentation being done with regards to native ferments. I'm all for it. Just make sure that when these experiments are done, the only variable at play is the yeast - and that everything else is held constant. And when tastings are conducted, please do so blind - and bring in folks who are not part of the process . . .

Looking forward to continuing the conversation - and hearing more info from others.

Cheers.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
Mark C
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 35328
Joined: December 13th, 2011, 2:45 pm
Location: We’re not dead, we’re just Reston...

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#41 Post by Mark C » April 16th, 2018, 8:26 pm

This is a fascinating thread.

Is it not true that the Saccharomyces cerevisiae bacterium is one of the most common strains found on the human endothelium i.e skin? So don’t we all carry around our own native fermentation kit? And wouldn’t stomping grapes be a fine way to introduce said endothelial bacterium into the soon to be fermented must?

The next time I talk to my cousin who’s a PhD research biochemist specializing in zymurgy I’m going to bend her ear about this subject but iirc her specialty is not in this area.
෴ ෴
(☉ ☉)
\_⏝_/


Mark Cћамρηeγ

Wine Berserkers, “delight of the incapable and insignificant"!

“Ignorance is a lot like alcohol: the more you have of it, the less you are able to see its effect on you.” — Jay Bylsma

“Mark; I’ll surrender the argument.” Gordon Fitz


aka Frabjous/CT

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7723
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#42 Post by larry schaffer » April 16th, 2018, 8:46 pm

Mark,

It very well may be present, but not in very large numbers. As I mentioned, it is normally outnumbered about five to one by wild yeasts on wine grapes when they come into the winery.

It becomes a numbers game to see who will succeed. And wild yeast simply cannot handle the toxic environment of a wine grape fermentation, and most are killed off within the first 5-7 brix or so.

Cheers
larry schaffer
tercero wines

User avatar
Blake Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5864
Joined: May 2nd, 2010, 11:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#43 Post by Blake Brown » April 17th, 2018, 1:12 am

John Morris wrote:
Blake Brown wrote: It appears to me that in general, the best is a combo of both. Obviously, the style of the wine should have a big influence on which way a winemaker goes. Also, the climate has to be factored in.
I'm not sure what you mean by a combo. Not in the same wine, I assume. My understanding is that if you put the commercial yeast in, they take over because they're bred to act quickly.
John, I was referencing the statement made in the article: "You can of course start your fermentation off using indigenous yeast and then follow up with cultured yeast. This gives you the best of both worlds: the opportunity to produce the most transparent wine possible, enhanced with the security that it’ll go all the way through fermentation with no hassles."

Again as I stated previously, I am motivated to have a conversation with some of my wine making buddies to get their input and learn how they handle this and to what extent they can identify differences in the final product.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

User avatar
Blake Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5864
Joined: May 2nd, 2010, 11:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#44 Post by Blake Brown » April 17th, 2018, 1:47 am

larry schaffer wrote:Mark,

It very well may be present, but not in very large numbers. As I mentioned, it is normally outnumbered about five to one by wild yeasts on wine grapes when they come into the winery.

It becomes a numbers game to see who will succeed. And wild yeast simply cannot handle the toxic environment of a wine grape fermentation, and most are killed off within the first 5-7 brix or so.

Cheers
So Larry, I do not find any place herein where you share what you do in with your wines. It would be good to know not only what you do now, but what you have learned over the years and any changes you`ve made and why. Thanks in advance.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

User avatar
D@vid Bu3ker
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 33130
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 8:06 am
Location: Connecticut

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#45 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » April 17th, 2018, 4:52 am

Otto Forsberg wrote:It's pretty easy to differentiate inexpensive Chilean wines made with cultured yeasts because they create so much varietally atypical aromatics that are a dead giveaway, just like Duboeuf's use of that one specific Lallemand yeast strain to boost the banana aromatics in the low-end Beaujolais wines.
This is an important point that gets lost in the discussion. Inexpensive wines require predictability & efficiency and thus end up with a bland consistency that is not interesting to people who post in forums such as Berserkers.

Now move away from the highly commercial/cheap product zone, and try to pick out which wines are fermented with which kinds of yeast. It will likely be much harder. When you get into the kinds of wines that people here are discussing you end up with wineries that obsess over details, pursue a high-wire path to distinctiveness, and end up with wines that display unique characteristics that cannot be specifically ascribed to one farming, harvesting, sorting, fermenting, aging technique or another. More often than not we have a high degree of knowledge regarding the wineries we pursue, and that influences how we taste, and what we find when we taste.

An objective judgement is very difficult, if not impossible.
David Bueker - Rieslingfan

User avatar
Otto Forsberg
Posts: 829
Joined: December 28th, 2017, 4:26 am
Location: Finland

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#46 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 17th, 2018, 7:24 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
Otto Forsberg wrote:It's pretty easy to differentiate inexpensive Chilean wines made with cultured yeasts because they create so much varietally atypical aromatics that are a dead giveaway, just like Duboeuf's use of that one specific Lallemand yeast strain to boost the banana aromatics in the low-end Beaujolais wines.
This is an important point that gets lost in the discussion. Inexpensive wines require predictability & efficiency and thus end up with a bland consistency that is not interesting to people who post in forums such as Berserkers.
Yes, but that doesn't make it any less viable that it is possible to pick up which wines are definitely made with commercial yeasts. When thinking of wines that are fermented with commercial yeasts and you can easily pick that up, it's mainly in this category. When thinking of wines that are fermented spontaneously, it is mainly the rather funky end of the spectrum. These are the wines that constitute that approximately 20% of the wines where you can easily see if the wine is fermented with commercial yeasts or spontaneously without checking out the fact sheet. The great majority that are fermented with neutral commercial yeasts are more often than not impossible or close to impossible to differentiate with wines fermented spontaneously.
Now move away from the highly commercial/cheap product zone, and try to pick out which wines are fermented with which kinds of yeast. It will likely be much harder. When you get into the kinds of wines that people here are discussing you end up with wineries that obsess over details, pursue a high-wire path to distinctiveness, and end up with wines that display unique characteristics that cannot be specifically ascribed to one farming, harvesting, sorting, fermenting, aging technique or another. More often than not we have a high degree of knowledge regarding the wineries we pursue, and that influences how we taste, and what we find when we taste.

An objective judgement is very difficult, if not impossible.
Yes, that is why I try to go to blind tastings as often as possible. Preferably to ones where the wines can be anything, from cheap commercial wines to sought-after cult wines. In these instances you get to be as objective as possible.

I have also worked as a judge in our national "Wine of the Year" awards for a couple of times. It's more or less 400-500 wines tasted fully blind and all we are told that whether the wines are competing in the new world or old world category or if they are competing in a more specific category. We don't get to know what wines we've tasted until a few months later after the results are published, so it's pretty darn objective. Plus the schedule is so darn tight you really don't have the time to try guessing the wines. You just taste, rate it and move on to the next glass.

Every now and then I rate highly wines that I've disliked when tasted non-blind and vice versa. However, I'd still say I'm pretty consistent - I rate highly the wines I normally like for 90% of the time and I quite reliably give poor scores to wines I that know to be lousy.

Adam Lee
Posts: 1934
Joined: March 2nd, 2009, 5:16 am

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#47 Post by Adam Lee » April 17th, 2018, 7:25 am

The Goddard yeast studies in New Zealand are a fascinating source of information about many things yeast related. Here is, for example, a study that examines the spread of European derived Saccharomyces cerevisiae throughout NZ by humans. There are many other studies that he has done (and are linked on his website).

https://academic.oup.com/femsyr/article ... 91/2469925

Adam Lee
Clarice Wine Company

User avatar
John Morris
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 16758
Joined: June 21st, 2009, 2:09 pm
Location: Gotham

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#48 Post by John Morris » April 17th, 2018, 7:34 am

larry schaffer wrote:Mark,
It very well may be present, but not in very large numbers. As I mentioned, it is normally outnumbered about five to one by wild yeasts on wine grapes when they come into the winery.

It becomes a numbers game to see who will succeed. And wild yeast simply cannot handle the toxic environment of a wine grape fermentation, and most are killed off within the first 5-7 brix or so.
Cheers
I'm confused. The wild/indigenous yeast on grapes can survive past the first 5-7 Brix, no? Are you referring to yeasts on human skin?
"I pencilled in half an hour to suffer fools tomorrow, but now I’m thinking I might bump it out until Monday." -- @duchessgoldblat

“Only he who has walked through the deepest valley knows how other valleys of lesser depth are relatively more walk-throughable, valley-wise.” – @TheTweetOfGod

User avatar
Otto Forsberg
Posts: 829
Joined: December 28th, 2017, 4:26 am
Location: Finland

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#49 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 17th, 2018, 7:38 am

John Morris wrote:
larry schaffer wrote:Mark,
It very well may be present, but not in very large numbers. As I mentioned, it is normally outnumbered about five to one by wild yeasts on wine grapes when they come into the winery.

It becomes a numbers game to see who will succeed. And wild yeast simply cannot handle the toxic environment of a wine grape fermentation, and most are killed off within the first 5-7 brix or so.
Cheers
I'm confused. The wild/indigenous yeast on grapes can survive past the first 5-7 Brix, no? Are you referring to yeasts on human skin?
Very little beyond that. Only a few wild yeasts on grapes can tolerate more than 4-6% alcohol, which corresponds to max. 10 Bx.

User avatar
larry schaffer
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 7723
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:26 am
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA

What is the role of active yeast versus cultured yeast in winemaking?

#50 Post by larry schaffer » April 17th, 2018, 8:42 am

Blake Brown wrote:
larry schaffer wrote:Mark,

It very well may be present, but not in very large numbers. As I mentioned, it is normally outnumbered about five to one by wild yeasts on wine grapes when they come into the winery.

It becomes a numbers game to see who will succeed. And wild yeast simply cannot handle the toxic environment of a wine grape fermentation, and most are killed off within the first 5-7 brix or so.

Cheers
So Larry, I do not find any place herein where you share what you do in with your wines. It would be good to know not only what you do now, but what you have learned over the years and any changes you`ve made and why. Thanks in advance.
Blake,

Though I have played around a bit with 'native' fermentations, nearly all of mine have been using commercial inoculum. What has changed over the years is when I add it. I used to 'religiously' cold soak all of my red grapes for 4-5 days in order to kill off bacteria coming in from the vineyards and then pitch my yeast into the fermenting bins. For the last number of years, though, my cold soaks have been 'erratic' because the ambient temperature where I make my wines is really dependent upon the weather outside and I am not always able to get my grapes first thing in the morning when they are cool. I also 100% whole cluster ferment all of my reds, foot stomping each 1/2 ton bin for about 15 minutes before dumping them into fermenting bins. What ends up happening is that each variety takes its own path - the stems/clusters remain in tact more often in Grenache, for instance, compared to Mourvedre. I wait until the ferment begins to kick off on its own and then I inoculate.

I have many winemaker friends who 'go native' each and every year and many who inoculate. Those who go native either do so because they feel in their 'heart of hearts' that it leads to 'more complexity' while others do so philosophically because they want to 'add' as little as possible to the process. As I stated in a previous post, though, I know more than one 'native' supporter who regularly pitches in commercial inoculum near the end of some ferments to make sure they go dry.

To me, yeast is an important 'tool' to ensure that I take my grapes all the way through to dryness - and the commercial inoculum that I've used continue to do so. Are they 'predictable'? Not always. Do they get the job done? Yep . . .

Cheers.
larry schaffer
tercero wines

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”