WSU CAHNRS

College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

Harnessing wild yeasts to produce refined wines

From WSU News by Scott Weybright, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

Wine comes from grapes, but the alcohol comes from yeast. Most wine is made by fermenting grapes with specifically chosen species of yeast, leading to predictable wines for vintners.

But wild yeasts grow naturally on grapes, and researchers at Washington State University are looking to find what impact those wild yeasts have on the finished product.

“Winemaking is more sorcery than science,” said Dean Glawe, a WSU plant pathology professor. “Part of what makes particular wines special is what’s growing on the grapes.”

“We know that grapes from some vineyards make better wines,” said Glawe, who is working with plant pathology and food science colleagues on this project. “One possibility is that yeasts in those vineyards are unusual – so we want to find them.”

Read more. . .

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