Aims: The study of the fermentation performance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains under high sugar stress during the vinification of partially dried grapes.
Methods and Results: Microvinification of partially dried grape must with sugar concentration of 35° Brix was performed using four commercial strains to carry out alcoholic fermentation. A traditional red vinification without nutrients addition was applied. Yeasts displayed different efficiency to convert sugar in ethanol and varied in glycerol yield. Sugar consumption and ethanol level were attested at 80–87% and 143·5–158·0 g l−1 respectively. High correlation between sugar and assimilable nitrogen consumption rate was observed. Statistical treatment of data by principal component analysis highlighted the different behaviours that strains exhibited in regard to the production of higher alcohols and other compounds important to wine quality.
Conclusions: Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains displayed appreciable capability to overcome osmotic stress and to yield ethanol fermenting high sugar concentration grape must in winemaking condition.
Significance and Impact of the Study: The results provided insights on the strain contribution to wine quality subordinate to stress condition. This investigation is of applicative interest for winemaking and processing industry that use high sugar concentration musts.