The use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce sweet wine is difficult because yeast is affected by a hyperosmotic stress due to the high sugar concentrations in the fermenting must. One possible alternative could be the coimmobilization of the osmotolerant yeast strains S. cerevisiae X4 and X5 on Penicillium chrysogenum strain H3 (GRAS) for the partial fermentation of raisin musts. This immobilized has been, namely, as yeast biocapsules. Traditional sweet wine (that is, without fermentation of the must) and must partially fermented by free yeast cells were also used for comparison. Partially fermented sweet wines showed higher concentration of the volatile compounds than traditionally produced wines. The wines obtained by immobilized yeast cells reached minor concentrations of major alcohols than wines by free cells. The consumption of specific nitrogen compounds was dependent on yeast strain and the cellular immobilization. A principal component analysis shows that the compounds related to the response to osmotic stress (glycerol, acetaldehyde, acetoin, and butanediol) clearly differentiate the wines obtained with free yeasts but not the wines obtained with immobilized yeasts.
Free or immobilized cells from S. cerevisiae X4 and X5 osmotolerant strains might be appropriate to produce sweet wines from dried grapes giving rise to a new type of wine that can facilitate the diversification of the current supply of sweet wines.