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Microbial resources and innovation in the Wine Production Sector

C. Berbegal, G. Spano, M. Tristezza, F. Grieco, V. Capozzi

Microbial starter cultures represent a fundamental level of innovation in the wine sector. Selected yeast
strains are routinely used to achieve the needed biomass preparation to accelerate and steer alcoholic
fermentation in grape must. The use of starter cultures to induce malolactic fermentation in wine relies on
the characterisation and propagation of suitable strains of lactic acid bacteria. Furthermore, the selection
of new strains, the renewal of management of microbial resources and new technologies allow continuous
improvements in oenology, which may increase the beneficial aspects of wine. In this review, with the aim to
stimulate microbial-driven, consumer-oriented advances in the oenological sector, we propose an overview
of recent trends in this field that are reported by following the classical separation into ‘product innovation’
and ‘process innovation’. Hence, we shall highlight i) the possible positive innovative impacts of microbial
resources on the safety and the sensorial and functional properties of wine (product innovation) and ii)
the potential microbial-based improvements allowing the reduction of time/costs and the environmental
impacts associated with winemaking (process innovation).

starter cultures

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