Inoculation of active dry yeasts during the wine-making process has become a common practice in most wine-producing regions; this practice may affect the diversity of the indigenous population of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the winery. The aim of this work was to study the incidence of commercial yeasts in the experimental winery of Estación de Viticultura e Enoloxía de Galicia (EVEGA) and their ability to lead spontaneous fermentations. To do this, 64 spontaneous fermentations were carried out in the experimental cellar of EVEGA over a period of 7 years. Samples were taken from must and at the beginning, vigorous and final stages of fermentation. A representative number of yeast colonies was isolated from each sample. S. cerevisiae strains were characterised by analysis of mitochondrial DNA restriction patterns. The results showed that although more than 40 different strains of S. cerevisiae were identified, only 10 were found as the dominant strain or in codominance with other strains in spontaneous fermentations. The genetic profiles (mtDNA-RFLPs) of eight of these strains were similar to those of different commercial yeasts that had been previously used in the EVEGA cellar. The remaining two strains were autochthonous ones that were able to reach implantation frequencies as high of those of commercial yeasts. These results clearly indicated that commercial wine yeasts were perfectly adapted to survive in EVEGA cellar conditions, and they successfully competed with the indigenous strains of S. cerevisiae, even during spontaneous fermentations. On the other hand, autochthonous dominant strains that presented desirable oenological traits could be of interest to preserve wine typicity.
Spontaneous fermentations Commercial yeasts S. cerevisiae strains