Biodiversity of Saccharomyces yeast strains from grape berries of wine-producing areas using starter commercial yeasts


  • Present address: Eva Valero, Departamento de Agroalimentación, IMIDRA. Apto. 127. 28800-Madrid, Spain.

  • Editor: Isak Pretorius

Correspondence: Eva Valero, Finca El Encin. Apto. 127, Madrid, Spain. Tel.: +34 91 887 9488; fax: +34 91 887 9492; e-mail:


The use of commercial wine yeast strains as starters has grown extensively over the past two decades. In this study, a large-scale sampling plan was devised over a period of 3 years in three different vineyards in the south of France, to evaluate autochthonous wine yeast biodiversity in vineyards around wineries where active dry yeasts have been used as fermentation starters for more than 5 years. Seventy-two spontaneous fermentations were completed from a total of 106 grape samples, and 2160 colonies were isolated. Among these, 608 Saccharomyces strains were identified and 104 different chromosomal patterns found. The large majority of these (91) were found as unique patterns, indicating great biodiversity. There were differences in biodiversity according to the vineyard and year, showing that the biodiversity of Saccharomyces strains is influenced by climatic conditions and specific factors associated with the vineyards, such as age and size. Strains that were terroir yeast candidates were not found. The biodiversity of S. cerevisiae strains after harvest was similar to that in the early campaign; moreover, a temporal succession of S. cerevisiae strains is shown. This fact, together with the differences in biodiversity levels verifies that other factors were more important than commercial yeast utilization in the biodiversity of the vineyard.