In winemaking, non-Saccharomyces yeast species contribute important organoleptic complexity. Current interest focuses on abundant and dominant strains characteristically present in the early phase of spontaneous alcoholic fermentations. Non-Saccharomyces species are particularly relevant in Port wine production such that the fermentation is prematurely stopped, after the metabolism of only one half of the available sugar, through fortification with aguardente. This work aimed to isolate, identify and characterize non-Saccharomyces species present in spontaneously fermenting Port. To accomplish these goals, yeasts were isolated from a selection of frozen must samples (2012–2016 harvests), using a pre-screening process choosing only the best candidates based on the organoleptic quality of the corresponding fortified wine. From five hundred non-Saccharomyces isolates, twelve species were identified. The three most abundant species, Hanseniaspora uvarum, Lachancea thermotolerans, and Metschnikowia pulcherrima, representing 89% of the isolates, exhibited particularly high diversity with high growth performance variability when exposed to typical stress conditions associated with common enological parameters. Less abundant species included Issatchenkia orientalis, Torulaspora delbrueckii, Hanseniaspora vineae, Hanseniaspora osmophila, Candida zemplinina, Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, Hanseniaspora guilliermondii, Issatchenkia occidentalis, and Zygosaccharomyces bisporus. This is the first study providing insights into the identification and characterization of non-Saccharomyces species responsible for spontaneous Port wine production.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited