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Putting microbial diversity to work in shaping wine style


Summary

Objective

New or enhanced yeast and bacterial germplasm will be produced for winemaking processes to realise performance and economic gains, through improved fermentation efficiency and differentiation of wine products and styles.

Background

Changing the resident fermentation ecology of a grape must either through inoculation with a chosen yeast or bacterial strain, can dramatically shape the nature of the resulting wine. The AWRI has a long history in microbial strain development and the successful deployment and commercialisation of newly-developed strains. This project aims to build on that history.

Research approach

This project will refine existing yeast and bacterial strains such as the ‘rose’ yeast and Saccharomyces bayanus hybrids and optimise their use through varietal or wine style pairing. The degree to which yeast aromatic profiles can be modulated by modification of carbon flux through amino acid biosynthetic pathways will be explored.

Molecular technology will help to determine what is possible, and will provide foundational knowledge on biosynthetic pathways and markers for strain selection. Identification of molecular markers for specific aromatic traits will permit targeted selection of strains isolated during bioprospecting work.

The project will review microorganisms identified by the bioprospecting project (AWRI 1701-4.4.3) to identify opportunities for strain refinement, produce non-genetically modified yeasts through marker assisted breeding, evaluate pilot and sector-scale trials evaluating new yeast strains and provide practical advice and extension materials for winemakers.

Sector benefits

Breeding and selection strategies will deliver new microorganisms for winemakers seeking a point of differentiation in wines.