Reduction of ethanol content in wine with an improved combination of yeast strains and process conditions

Elsevier, Food Microbiology, Volume 115, October 2023
Guindal A.M., Morales P., Tronchoni J., Gonzalez R.

One interesting strategy to address the increasing alcohol content of wines, associated with climate change, is to reduce the ethanol yield during fermentation. Within this strategy, the approach that would allow the clearest reduction in alcohol content is the respiration of part of the grape sugars by yeasts. Non-Saccharomyces species can be used for this purpose but suffer from a limited ability to dominate the process and complete fermentation. In turn, Saccharomyces cerevisiae shows a high production of acetic acid under the growth conditions required for respiration. Previously proposed procedures used combinations of non-Saccharomyces and S. cerevisiae starters, or a strain of S. cerevisiae (PR1018), with unique metabolic properties. In both cases, precise management of oxygen availability was required to overcome the acetic acid problem. In this work, we have developed a laboratory scale process to take advantage of the properties of PR1018 and a strain of Metschnikowia pulcherrima. This process is more robust than the previous ones and does not rely on strict control of oxygenation or even the use of this particular strain of S. cerevisiae. Aeration can be interrupted instantly without impairing the volatile acidity. Under the selected conditions, an ethanol reduction of around 3% (v/v) was obtained compared to the standard fermentation control.