Teasing apart terroir: the influence of management style on native yeast communities within Oregon wineries and vineyards

Newer sequencing technologies have allowed for the addition of microbes to the story of terroir. The same environmental factors that influence the phenotypic expression of a crop also shape the composition of the microbial communities found on that crop. For fermented goods, such as wine, that microbial community ultimately influences the organoleptic properties of the final product that is delivered to customers. Recent studies have begun to study the biogeography of wine-associated microbes within different growing regions, finding that communities are distinct across landscapes. Despite this new knowledge, there are still many questions about what factors drive these differences. Our goal was to quantify differences in yeast communities due to management style between seven pairs of conventional and biodynamic vineyards (14 in total) throughout Oregon, USA. We wanted to answer the following questions: 1) are yeast communities distinct between biodynamic vineyards and conventional vineyards? 2) are these differences consistent across a large geographic region? 3) can differences in yeast communities be tied to differences in metabolite profiles of the bottled wine? To collect our data we took soil, bark, leaf, and grape samples from within each vineyard from five different vines of pinot noir. We also collected must and a 10º brix sample from each winery. Using these samples, we performed 18S amplicon sequencing to identify the yeast present. We then used metabolomics to characterize the organoleptic compounds present in the bottled wine from the blocks the year that we sampled. We are actively in the process of analysing our data from this study.

Authors: Max W. Spencer1, Katherine L. Shek1, Kyle Meyer2, Jeremy Weisz3, Greg Jones4 and Krista L. McGuire1

1Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA 
2Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkley, California, USA
3Department of Wine Studies, Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon, USA
4Abacela Winery, Roseburg, Oregon, USA

Email: mws@uoregon.edu

Keywords: microbe, yeast, fermentation, terroir, metabolite

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