Aims: The presence of Brettanomyces bruxellensis is an important issue during winemaking because of its volatile phenols production capacities. The aim of this study is to provide information on the ability of residual B. bruxellensis populations to multiply and spoil finished wines during storage in bottles.
Methods and results: Several finished wines were studied. Brettanomyces bruxellensis populations were monitored during two and a half months, and volatile phenols as well as chemical parameters regularly determined. Variable growth and volatile phenols synthesis capacities were evidenced, in particularly when cells are in a noncultivable state. In addition, the volatile phenol production was clearly shown to be a two-step procedure that could strongly be correlated to the physiological state of the yeast population.
Conclusions: This study underlines the importance of minimizing B. bruxellensis populations at the end of wine ageing to reduce volatile phenols production risk once the wine in bottle. Moreover, the physiological state of the yeast seems to have an important impact on ethyl-phenols production, hence demonstrating the importance of taking into account this parameter when analysing wine spoilage risks.
Significance and impact of the study: Little data exist about the survival of B. bruxellensis once the wine in bottle. This study provides information on the alteration risks encountered during wine storage in bottle and reveals the importance of carrying on further studies to increase the knowledge on B. bruxellensis physiology.