How Grape Juice or Must, Becomes Wine – the science bit…

We could write a whole book on the science of winemaking, indeed many have. However, rather than trying to blind you with the science which lies behind the creation of so many different types of wine and their inherent characteristics, we thought we would provide you with a ‘snapshot’ of one particularly fascinating element – the use of yeast in the fermentation process and in particular, why the type of yeast used is so important, as this is what sets Desiderio No.1 apart from many other wine producers, not just in this particular region of Italy, but throughout the world.

In the simplest (and least romantic) of terms, wine production is essentially a microbiological process where yeast and bacteria convert sugars, amino acids, and a number of other compounds found in grape juice (known as ‘must’) into alcohol. Once alcohol exists, the ‘must’ becomes wine, and once the alcoholic content reaches 16%, the alcohol in the wine kills off the yeast and the fermentation process stops, naturally.

Of course, this can still leave active bacteria in the wine, but modern-day factory-like vinification processes now use pasteurisation, the heating up of the wine, to kill these bacteria, but this is not is not how you make a quality and memorable wine.

At Desiderio No. 1 we have chosen to look carefully at how different types of yeast affect the grape juice, the must, and the wine that we craft; its properties such as flavour, aroma and its stability. It is a combination of an art and science.

We have discovered that if you use a natural, already activated yeast, this comes to reproducing the natural process of wine production, resulting in a wine with unmatched microbiologic purity. Natural, active yeast enables us to maintain a better pH balance (acidity) which has an optimum synergetic interaction with tartaric acid found in the ‘must’. The result is a longer-term stability of the wine and more persistent aromas which help to bring the wine alive.

Particularly with red wines, the level of antioxidants, which are known to have tremendous health benefits, are enhanced by the use of natural yeasts.