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Indigeneous Yeasts - Myth or Reality

Indigeneous Yeasts - Myth or Reality

Fermenting process - Indigeneous Yeasts

The ISV (Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences) just published the results of a study regarding over 200 wines vinified in 2012 and whose objective was to measure the genetic variety of yeasts used. 

As a reminder, yeasts are the micro-organisms in charge of alcoholic fermentation of wine by transforming the sugar into alcohol.

The results are interesting and seem to indicate that yeasts are not specific to a given area:

  • Yeasts present in a given area have no genetic specificity: the various strains analyzed in a given area are not members of a same genetic family which would be suited for this area, most of them are found in several different areas or even regions,  
  • The nature of yeasts present in a given area evolves from one year to the next : some strains last, some appear whereas some just disappear. Strains would therefore only be “in transit” in a region/farm and not “settled”,
  • Finally, no strain (regardless whether it’s commercial or not) has supplanted other strains present in a given place.

The only exceptions which confirm the rule are the Bourgogne and the Champagne where all the strains come from a same family and they appear to be more resistant to acid vinification conditions of these wines.

So if this study shows that there is no specific yeast for a certain region or farming area, it does show that this specificity indeed exists, but for the type of wine, so the wine variety/climate pair.

For more news on Rhône wines:

Source: “Réussir Vigne” – No. 208 – The specificity of the indigenous yeast is a myth

Le microbiologiste de Suze la Rousse

2015-06-02 16:48:46

Assez d'accord avec ces observations. On aimerait simplifier : une levure = une cave. Mais la nature, pour s'adapter aux conditions changeantes, notamment d'un millésime à l'autre, est d'une grande complexité. Les souches vivent, se succèdent et meurent au gré des conditions rencontrées.
Mais il faut prendre en compte une autre donnée : la notion économique ou marketing, qui est tout autant recevable. Tout scientifique que je suis, je dois bien entendre l'argument des vignerons qui souhaitent afficher qu'ils maîtrisent leur flore. Alors, tant qu'à faire, autant les accompagner pour les aider à avoir une vraie sécurité fermentaire. Car c'est aussi (et surtout) ce qu'apporte une production maîtrisée de levures.
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