About wine yeast - how made and function?

bejay9_10(zone 9/10)October 22, 2011

The recipes that I follow advise using certain yeasts - presumably for dryness and/or flavor. But I'm wondering why one couldn't use bread yeast as well. Would it give something very undrinkable?

How are these various yeasts produced then - in order to give them this diversity?


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Bejay I wondered the same thing. Several people have said that they used bread yeast, and it was entirely drinkable. I've read that in the old days people used to float a slice of bread covered with bread yeast on top of the wine crock to start fermentation. The bloom on the grapes is supposed to be a natural yeast. People have been fermenting fruit for thousands of years before campden tablets and Lalvin yeast company came along.

Part of using a named yeast is that they are bred to be tolerant to campden, so you put the campden in to stun the natural yeast and the named yeast at the same time so it can get a head start and outproduce the natural yeast. Part of it is so that you will know the alcohol tolerance. Yeasts may differ in how much alcohol they can tolerate before they die, and named yeasts are predictable to certain percentages of alcohol. The tolerance of your bread yeast might not have been tested. It could die off at a high or low alcohol percentage.

The named yeasts and campden tablets and other items are offered so that you can have a predictable result. If you are adventurous, you can use bread yeast or just the wild yeast already on the grapes, add sugar or not, and see what happens. I have read that you won't get poisoned from wine making, it won't make botulism. Certain things like bacteria from dirty tools or tannins from types of wood in a barrel or flavors from leaving the lees, or dead yeast slime on the bottom, can alter the flavors, but that does not mean it will taste bad. Letting the wine age a year can make a big change in the flavor. Jack Keller's site has lots of information.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jack Keller

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 3:18PM
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I just read in Lon Rombaugh's The Grape Growers Guide that it was discovered that rot in apples could be prevented by spraying with a sugar and yeast solution. The yeast would colonize the apple to where the rot bacteria could not grow.

Maybe a guy could spray his apple trees with a solution of sugar and a good wine yeast, then the cider would have a wine yeast already on it in the fall.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 6:03PM
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