Yeast has the most important role in the making of the wines we love to drink. Without it, there would be no fermentation, and therefore, no wine at all.
For fermentation to occur, winemakers can either choose to add the grape juices (inoculate) with a commercial yeast strain or wait for the indigenous vineyard or natural yeasts already present in the grape juice to start the process of fermentation on their own.
Are There Wines Without Yeast?
There are several alcoholic beverages that are made without yeast. By the time the winery is bottling them, red and white wines are almost completely yeast free.
Initially, yeast is used for flavoring and coloring the wine. However, because of the need to make it clear, the wine has to go through a process of filtration that clears the yeast out. If the yeast has not been removed, over time the wine becomes distasteful and cloudy. This is because the yeast would continue to make the wine increasingly more alcoholic.
How Much Yeast Is There In Wine?
Normal yeast amounts are fine, but because it contains bacteria yeast can cause infections if not correctly processed by your body. In beer and wine making, yeast is the “ingredient” responsible for converting the simple sugars into ethanol. The most commonly used species of yeast are S. carlsburgiensis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, although others are also used.
Does The Type Of Yeast Matter?
Yeast strains tend to vary widely from one place to the other and they contribute significantly to the finished wine’s odor and flavor. Yeasts indigenous to a specific area are important as they are what gives a particular wine its character.
Conventionally grown grapes tend to have little or no wild yeast. The primary yeast species in alcohol making are known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae although, in reality, there are thousands of other strains that can be used during the fermentation process. Each affects the flavor and tinge of the wine differently. (See the table below)
Red Star Wine Yeast
The Role Of Yeast In Winemaking?
An organic ripe grape is packed with natural sugars and on its skin are wild yeasts that live there. Once the grape skin is broken, the process of fermentation begins. In order to make wine, all a winemaker needs to do is collect grapes and crush them gently.
This releases the sugary juice, exposing it to the wild yeast on the grape skin. The process of fermentation continues until all the sugar turns into alcohol. At around 15%, the yeasts die naturally.
Despite the increasing availability of commercial yeasts, many people are still convinced they remove the individuality, the uniqueness of a wine.
Can You Make Wine Without Yeast?
Yes, sometimes it is possible to make wine without having to add any yeast. This is because eventually, the native yeast found in the air does the conversion. Some winemakers actually use this method calling it “wild” or “native” or natural fermentation. However, this can be tricky and challenging for it will depend on how much native yeast is available to you.
Yeasts are what converts sugars in the grape juice into alcohol during the alcohol making process. Certain types of yeasts will produce wines that are more creamy or oily in textures while others produce more sharp/spicy tastes.