Published in Good Fruit Grower
By Melissa Hansen, Washington State Wine Commission
Oct. 25, 2018
In the future, wine grape growers may be just as interested in a particular species of native yeast as winemakers, but for vastly different reasons. Research supported by the Washington State Wine Commission shows that native yeasts of Washington vineyards have potential to help combat fungal disease of wine grapes, reduce fungicide use and ensure consistent wine quality.
Winemakers use cultured and native yeasts to turn grape juice into wine. The choice of yeast can also influence wine quality by contributing aroma, flavor and texture and inhibiting unwanted yeasts and spoilage microorganisms.
Up to this point growers haven’t put much thought into yeast populations in the vineyard, but today’s DNA sequencing technology could change that. It brings new scientific interest in native yeasts for their potential biocontrol of grape pathogens and contributions to wine quality.
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