Function of yeast species and strains in wine flavour

P. Romano, C. Fiore, M. Paraggio, M. Caruso, A. Capece
International Journal of Food Microbiology 86 (2003) 169-180

The diversity and the composition of the yeast micropopulation significantly contribute to the sensory characteristics of wine. The growth of each wine yeast species is characterized by a specific metabolic activity, which determines concentrations of flavour compounds in the final wine. However, it must be underlined that, within each species, significant strain variability has been recorded. The wide use of starter cultures, mainly applied to reduce the risk of spoilage and unpredictable changes of wine flavour, can ensure a balanced wine flavour, but it may also cause a loss of characteristic aroma and flavour determinants.
Thus, the beneficial contribution from the yeast increases when starter cultures for winemaking are selected on the basis of scientifically verified characteristics and are able to complement and optimise grape quality and individual characteristics. Here we report the characterization of a large number of strains of different wine yeast species, isolated from spontaneous wine fermentations and included in the culture collection of the Basilicata University.
Keywords: Wine flavour; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Non-Saccharomyces yeasts; Strain diversity
Function of yeast species and strains in wine flavour