Friday, 4 January 2013

Yeast - the X-Factor for Biodynamic Wine?

Recent studies at Stellenbosch University have suggested that variations in the aromatic properties of wine, from identical grapes harvested in the same vineyard, may be due to differences in the yeast composition within the vineyard. This is because the microbial species present on the berry may contribute to the fermentation process.

Whilst the same yeast-like fungus, Aureobasidium pullunans, known as black yeast, was dominant in all vineyards, the research supported results from other studies that biodynamic farming leads to greater richness of microbial diversity. In a conventional vineyard 11 species of yeast were found while 17 species were identified in a biodynamic vineyard.

Interestingly, “many yeasts with biocontrol potential” were found exclusively in a biodynamic vineyard, some of which are the natural enemy of botrytis. The authors speculated that this unique diversity could be as a result of the establishment of the natural enemies of different pests given the absence of pesticides and synthetic fungicides.

You can view the full study here.