Terroir 2016 banner
IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 Spontaneous fermentation dynamics of indigenous yeast populations and their effect on the sensory properties of Riesling

Spontaneous fermentation dynamics of indigenous yeast populations and their effect on the sensory properties of Riesling


Varietal Riesling aroma relies strongly on the formation and liberation of bound aroma compounds. Floral monoterpenes, green C6-alcohols, fruity C13-norisoprenoids and spicy volatile phenols are predominantly bound to disaccharides, which are produced and stored in the grape berry during berry maturation. Grape processing aims to extract maximum amount of the precursors from the berry skin to increase the potential for a strong varietal aroma in the wine. Subsequent yeast selection plays an important part in this process. While Saccharomyces cerevisiae seems to be limited in their expression of glycosidase enzymes required to cleave and liberate the aroma compounds from their precursors, different non-Saccharomyces yeast genera show more prominence. Due to the infrequent and scarce occurrence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the vineyard and grape samples, many scientific findings report that spontaneous alcoholic fermentation is dominantly conducted by yeast strains originating from the winery environment rather than from the vineyard. However, recent advancements of modern genetic tools have elucidated site-specific microbiota on grapes from different vineyards and vintages. Their role in fermented wine has not yet been clarified.

This study aims to shed light on the roles of vineyard and winery microbiomes in wine fermentations in relation to fermentation dynamics, aroma formation and sensory perception. Riesling grapes from five different Riesling vineyards in the Pfalz region, Germany was picked aseptically during the 2015 vintage. Pilot-scale spontaneous fermentations of each of the individual vineyard with triplicates were conducted with aseptically managed winemaking. Fermentation progress was monitored by density measurements and FTIR-spectroscopy. Yeast population dynamics in the fermentations were monitored and identified with next-generation sequencing technology. Descriptive analysis of the wines was used to evaluate the changes in aroma and flavor sensory profiles.

Results show plausible promise in both the microbial difference occurring in the vineyard as well as clear impact of the winery-derived microbiome. Modulation of aroma and taste was observed and correlated with the occurrence of specific yeast species.


Publication date: June 23, 2020

Issue: Terroir 2016

Type: Article


Kimmo Siren

Centre DLR RheinPfalz, Institute for Viticulture and Oenology

Contact the author


Terroir, enology, Riesling, fermentation, indigenous yeast


IVES Conference Series | Terroir 2016


Related articles…

Winemaking processes discrimination by using qNMR metabolomics

AIM: Metabolomics in food science has been increasingly used over the last twenty years. Among the tools used for wine, qNMR has emerged as a powerful tool to discern wines based on environmental factors such as geographical origin, grape variety and vintage (Gougeon et al., 2019a).

Impact of soil characteristics on grape composition of Tempranillo variety under different weather conditions in Rioja DOCa (Spain)

Aims: The objective of this research was to analyse the spatial and temporal variability of vine phenology of the Tempranillo variety in the Toro Designation of Origen (DO) related to climatic conditions at present and under future climate change scenarios.

Terroir effects on the response of Tempranillo grapevines to irrigation in four locations of Spain: grape and must composition

This work discusses the effects of soil and weather conditions on the grape composition of cv. Tempranillo in four different locations of Spain, during the 2008-2011 seasons.

Effect of soil particle size on vine water status, leaf ABA content and berry quality in Nebbiolo grapes

The root and shoot abscisic acid (ABA) accumulation in response to water deficit and its relation with stomatal conductance is longtime known in grapevine. ABA-dependent and ABA-independent signalling response to osmotic stress coexist in sessile plants. In grapevine, the signaling role of ABA in response to water stress conditions and its influence on berry quality is critical to manage grapevine acclimation to climate change.

Testing the pathogen e-learning and field training course on grapevine virus knowledge and management

One of the reasons of the spread of grapevine virus diseases in
vineyards around the world is the lack of knowledge by the main actors of the wine sector. To face this problem, five partners worked together to develop the PAThOGEN project, a training program aimed to improve grapevine virus knowledge and management. The partnership gathers one French technical center (IFV), one Spanish university (USC), one Italian applied research center (CREA), one Spanish foundation
specialized in training and technology transfer (FEUGA) and one Italian SME specialized in the development of informatics tools and in knowledge transfer (HORTA).The objectives of PAThOGEN are: (i) to develop and
maintain a high-quality work-based Vocational and Education Training program, (ii) to improve the skills of professionals of the wine sector.