Original research articles

An indigenous Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strain isolated from Paarl regional Shiraz grapes to enhance Shiraz wine typicity


Wine yeast starter cultures differ in their ability to release aroma-enhancing metabolites associated with typical varietal wines. Therefore, this study investigated an indigenous Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolated from Paarl regional Shiraz grapes for the release of, amongst others, volatile thiols (aroma compounds traditionally associated with white cultivars, especially Sauvignon blanc) during the 2016 and 2017 vintages using Shiraz grape must. Chemical analyses of final wines showed that the indigenous strain i.e., NI6 produced Shiraz wines lower volatile acidity (VA) and acetic acid concentrations than wines produced with reference strains i.e., WE372 and MERIT, respectively. This was further supported by descriptive sensory evaluations of wines, as NI6 wines had typical Shiraz varietal aromas and flavours, i.e.,“berry”, “jammy”, “smoky” and “spicy and peppery”. This yeast strain also produced wines with more 3-mercapto-1-hexanol (3MH), a volatile thiol that imparts black currant aromas in red wines, than both red wine reference strains in 2016. Both red wine reference strains, however, produced red wines with higher ester compounds (imparts “fruity” aroma) concentrations than strain NI6. Nonetheless, the ability of NI6 to consistently release volatile thiols during both vintages is advantageous for Shiraz wine typicity. Overall, this study showed that wines with a positive correlation with black and/or fruits aromas and flavours also had volatile thiol levels above its sensory detection thresholds, which indicates that ester compounds are not solely responsible for Shiraz wine fruity aromas and flavours as was traditionally reported.


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Michell Williams

Country : South Africa

Wesaal Khan

Country : South Africa

Nombasa Ntushelo

Country : South Africa

Rodney Hart


Affiliation : SRC

Country : South Africa


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