Newly generated interspecific wine yeast hybrids introduce flavour and aroma diversity to wines

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011 Aug;91(3):603-12. doi: 10.1007/s00253-011-3294-3. Epub 2011 May 3.


Increasingly, winemakers are looking for ways to introduce aroma and flavour diversity to their wines as a means of improving style and increasing product differentiation. While currently available commercial yeast strains produce consistently sound fermentations, there are indications that sensory complexity and improved palate structure are obtained when other species of yeast are active during fermentation. In this study, we explore a strategy to increase the impact of non-Saccharomyces cerevisiae inputs without the risks associated with spontaneous fermentations, through generating interspecific hybrids between a S. cerevisiae wine strain and a second species. For our experiments, we used rare mating to produce hybrids between S. cerevisiae and other closely related yeast of the Saccharomyces sensu stricto complex. These hybrid yeast strains display desirable properties of both parents and produce wines with concentrations of aromatic fermentation products that are different to what is found in wine made using the commercial wine yeast parent. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that the introduction of genetic material from a non-S. cerevisiae parent into a wine yeast background can impact favourably on the wine flavour and aroma profile of a commercial S. cerevisiae wine yeast.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chimera
  • Fermentation / genetics*
  • Food Industry / methods
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Odorants*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Saccharomyces / genetics
  • Saccharomyces / metabolism*
  • Taste
  • Wine / microbiology*