Saccharomyces cerevisiae and grape juice are 'natural companions' and make a happy wine marriage. However, this relationship can be enriched by allowing 'wild' non-Saccharomyces yeast to participate in a sequential manner in the early phases of grape must fermentation. However, such a triangular relationship is complex and can only be taken to 'the next level' if there are no spoilage yeast present and if the 'wine yeast' - S. cerevisiae - is able to exert its dominance in time to successfully complete the alcoholic fermentation. Winemakers apply various 'matchmaking' strategies (e.g. cellar hygiene, pH, SO2 , temperature and nutrient management) to keep 'spoilers' (e.g. Dekkera bruxellensis) at bay, and allow 'compatible' wild yeast (e.g. Torulaspora delbrueckii, Pichia kluyveri, Lachancea thermotolerans and Candida/Metschnikowia pulcherrima) to harmonize with potent S. cerevisiae wine yeast and bring the best out in wine. Mismatching can lead to a 'two is company, three is a crowd' scenario. More than 40 of the 1500 known yeast species have been isolated from grape must. In this article, we review the specific flavour-active characteristics of those non-Saccharomyces species that might play a positive role in both spontaneous and inoculated wine ferments. We seek to present 'single-species' and 'multi-species' ferments in a new light and a new context, and we raise important questions about the direction of mixed-fermentation research to address market trends regarding so-called 'natural' wines. This review also highlights that, despite the fact that most frontier research and technological developments are often focussed primarily on S. cerevisiae, non-Saccharomyces research can benefit from the techniques and knowledge developed by research on the former.
Keywords: aroma; fermentation; flavour; non-Saccharomyces; wine; yeasts.
© 2013 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved.