Ask Wine Wizard

Yeast Pitching Rates


Bob Kyle — Michigan asks,

I have been making wine since 1998 and it has been a great hobby. I have made wine from both kits and grapes, and recently tried my first cider. Some wine kits come with 1 or 2 packages of yeast. A recent Winexpert kit I made used EC-1118 and Bourgorouge RC212. Questions: What do the 2 yeasts do, versus just using 1? Do they compete somehow? When I make wine from grapes, how do I know I am adding enough yeast, if these special kits add 2 packages?

Good for you for branching out. Apple cider has astronomically increased in popularity in the United States in the past few years and I see an increasing number of wineries trying their hand at the fermented-apple beverage. But back to the questions at hand. As to your wine kit coming with two packets of different yeasts (and I have no idea what the instructions say): Is it possible the kit says to choose one or the other? Do the directions say to use both? My first instinct would be to follow whatever the directions say, to the letter. A lot of test batches have been done on these kits before they are released in order to arrive at the given ingredients and instructions provided. If none are given, then my next instinct would be that, if each packet is sufficient to ferment the batch size (see addition rates on page 18), you are to choose one of the yeasts only. Part of this reason is that EC-1118 and RC212 are very different yeasts. EC-1118 is also known as Prise de
Response by Alison Crowe.