Project Wildwine

Project Title : Multi-strain indigeneous Yeast and Bacterial Starter from "wild ferment" wine production
Funding : FP7
Duration : 2012-2015
Coordination : Hellenic Agricultural Organisation “DEMETER”(Greece)
Status IFV : Partner

Summary :

Aforetime, wines were produced by the resident grape/winery microbiota. Currently commercial Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Oenococcus oeni starter cultures are widely used to ensure a manageable process. Despite advantages, this may lead to sensory resemblance of wines from diverse origins, whereas exotic starters may fail to take over fermentation. Nowadays, the competitive nature of global wine market urges for the production of premium wines with regional character. Consumers also call for allergen-free wines made according to natural and organic procedures. To this end, the use of indigenous S. cerevisiae or non-Saccharomyces (wild) yeasts is a tool to create wine complexity and authenticity, while selected lactic acid bacteria (LAB) may effectively control malolactic fermentation and thereby eliminate biogenic amines (BA).

 The innovative scope of this project is to combine native S. cerevisiae with wild species and native O. oeni with other LAB in the development of peculiar yeast and bacterial blend starters, respectively. These formulations will be carefully designed to fulfill all the essential and desirable winemaking properties to serve as starters in induced wild fermentations for the production of specialty organic or conventional wines. For this purpose, the biodiversity of key EU viticultural areas will be thoroughly screened to identify strains of enological importance as per their phenotypic characters and genetic traits. Their eligibility will be validated in plant-scale fermentations and wines will be evaluated by sensory analysis and consumer acceptance testing. Outcomes will enable (a) ‘wild ferment’ technology in winemaking, (b) production of innovative, safe terroir wines and (c) meeting rules on organic wine production and BA content. By these means, the project will assist the SME-AGs from leading wine producing EU countries (France, Greece, Italy, Spain) to enhance marketing abilities towards a more competitive and sustainable wine industry.

The Project's targets :

a.    Assessment of the indigenous yeast and bacterial diversity involving the isolation of the local yeast and bacterial biodiversity associated with the respective terroirs, the identification of isolates at the species level and the typing of isolates at the strain level with advanced molecular techniques
b.    Pre-selection of strains with enological potential based on the evaluation of the enological characteristics of yeasts and bacteria by in vitro tests, the assessment of the genetic stability of strains with enological potential through karyotype analysis and the evaluation of the key enological traits of yeasts and bacteria by genetic and molecular analyses. The generation of enological yeast and bacteria culture collections for the respective viticultural zones is also foreseen.
c.    Evaluation of the performance of pre-selected strains during micro-fermentations on the basis of fermentation kinetics, chemical and sensory characteristics of the finished wines
d.    Implementation of selected strains and blends as starter cultures in pilot scale wine production. The performance of indigenous yeast blends, bacterial strains and inoculation protocols will be assessed in pilot-scale production of ‘wild-ferment’ wines at the premises of the wineries
e.    Consumer studies will be implemented for evaluating the market potential for ‘wild-ferment’ terroir wines produced by the selected indigenous yeasts and bacteria
f.    Exploitation, dissemination and training activities will be carried out to support the exploitation and to protect the Intellectual Property Rights of the project results, to disseminate the knowledge resulting from the project both to the members of the SME-AGs of the consortium and beyond to a wider audience and to train the SME-AGs and their SMEs to facilitate the take-up of the project results.

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