Technique

Picking the Proper Wine Yeast: Tips from the Pros

Stephen Smith attended wine appreciation classes at Denver University in 1982–84, winemaking seminars at the New Mexico Wine and Vine Society in Albuquerque from 1984 to the present, and extension courses at U.C. Davis (including Table Wine Production, White Wine Production, Wine Filtration and Wine Lab Procedures). He is the owner of Grande River Vineyards in Palisade, Colorado. While it doesn’t play as dominant a role as it does in beermaking, yeast selection does nudge wine styles in desired directions. It enhances varietal character and makes fermentation a smoother, simpler process. As an example, if you pick yeast that limits sulfur-dioxide production in a wine that demands limited SO2, then you don’t need to work at reducing it. Scott Labs, Vinquiry, The Wine Lab, Presque Isle and other suppliers have catalogs that describe different strains and their characteristics. You can also go straight to the labs, like Lallemand, Red Star, White Labs, or Wyeast. I suggest that winemakers contact these companies and get on their mailing lists. Information is sometimes available on their Websites as well. You can contact the