Over 100 strains of unique wine yeasts found only in New Zealand might help local winemakers establish wines which are even more unique to this region than currently.
The strains were identified by Dr Matthew Goddard and his team, of Auckland University, after a single ferment from a west Auckland vineyard.
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“Given yeast’s influence on a wine’s flavour, it was possible the new yeasts could be used to make New Zealand wines even more unique, [Dr Goddard] said.
“At present, the risks involved in allowing wines to ferment spontaneously using wild local yeasts mean many winemakers choose to use imported single-strain industrial yeasts.
“But more reliable yeasts may soon be available to New Zealand winemakers after Dr Goddard’s earlier work isolating reliable local strains. These should combine the performance of cultured yeasts with the regional colour of the country’s indigenous ones.
“Dr Goddard is now investigating whether yeast populations also vary from region to region, with preliminary results suggesting it is possible. “Maybe the character of something like Central Otago pinot noir could in part be derived from its population of yeasts.””