Yeast activity during wine fermentation directly contributes to wine quality, but the source and movement of yeasts in vineyards and winery environments have not been resolved. Here, we investigate the yeast species associated with the Drosophila insect vector to help understand yeast dispersal and persistence. Drosophila are commonly found in vineyards and are known to have a mutualistic relationship with yeasts in other ecosystems. Drosophilids were collected from vineyards, grape waste (marc) piles and wineries during grape harvest. Captured flies were identified morphologically, and their associated yeasts were identified. Drosophila melanogaster/D. simulans, D. hydei and Scaptodrosophila lativittata were identified in 296 captured Drosophila flies. These flies were associated with Metschnikowia pulcherrima, Hanseniaspora uvarum, Torulaspora delbrueckii and H. valbyensis yeasts. Yeast and Drosophila species diversity differed between collection locations (vineyard and marc: R = 0.588 for Drosophila and R = 0.644 for yeasts). Surprisingly, the primary wine fermentation yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, was not isolated. Drosophila flies are preferentially associated with different yeast species in the vineyard and winery environments, and this association may help the movement and dispersal of yeast species in the vineyard and winery ecosystem.
Keywords: Drosophila; biogeography; vineyard; wine; yeast diversity.
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