Aims: The purpose of this study was to determine the origin of the yeasts involved in the spontaneous alcoholic fermentation of an Alsatian wine.
Methods and results: During three successive years, must was collected at different stages of the winemaking process and fermented in the laboratory or in the cellar. Saccharomyces yeasts were sampled at the beginning and at the end of the fermentations. Saccharomyces cerevisiae clones were genetically characterized by inter-delta PCR. Non-S. cerevisiae clones were identified as Saccharomyces uvarum by PCR-RFLP on MET2 gene and characterized at the strain level by karyotyping. The composition of the Saccharomyces population in the vineyard, after crushing and in the vat was analyzed. This led to three main results. First, the vineyard Saccharomyces population was rather homogeneous. Second, new non-resident strains had appeared in the must during the winemaking process. Finally, the yeast population in the vat only consisted in S. uvarum strains.
Conclusion: This 3-year study has enabled us to show the involvement of indigenous S. uvarum in the alcoholic fermentation.
Significance and impact of the study: This study gives a first insight into the polymorphism of S. uvarum strains involved in a spontaneous alcoholic fermentation.