Choosing A Wine Yeast Strain

Yeast selection is one of the most important winemaking decisions as the chosen yeast strain is, to a large extent, what shapes the wine, influences organoleptic (sensory) qualities, and reduces the risk of fermentation problems. But now, you may be asking yourself: How do I select a yeast strain with the “right” properties to achieve my style of wine with predictable results? What factors should I consider? What other resources are there to help me? The first consideration in selecting a yeast is matching the strain to the grape variety and desired style of wine (e.g., dry vs. sweet, light vs. full-bodied, sparkling, mead, etc.), and environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, pH, rotten berries, etc.) that may work against the yeast. All too often we neglect to look at the specifications of the yeast, namely, what by-products (metabolites) are synthesized and to what extent, what are the nutritional requirements, what are the optimal environmental conditions, and how does it impact malolactic fermentation (MLF), and simply use some generic, unknown yeast strain. To help you get started in picking the right tool