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sector_ico_Agrifood_trans Agrifood

A metagenomic survey of yeast populations in two Okanagan wineries

UPP015
  • Project Leaders: Vivien Measday, Matt Dumayne, Tim Martiniuk
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $127,500
  • Competition: User Partnership Program
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome BC
  • Fiscal Year: 2015
  • Status: Closed

Major wine regions worldwide have demonstrated that product differentiation by terroir enhances the marketability and perceived value of their wines. Okanagan wineries Okanagan Crush Pad (OCP) and Stoneboat Vineyards (SBV) make high quality wines using spontaneous fermentation by yeast present in their vineyards and wineries. Spontaneous fermentation is characterized by a diverse succession of indigenous yeast species and strains that varies between regions and even between adjacent vineyards, and can produce more organoleptically complex wines with greater regional character, increasing the wine’s market value. To reduce contamination and spoilage by commercial strains to sensitive indigenous yeast strains, and to avoid spoilage resulting in financial loss, OCP and SBV winemakers are collaborating with the Wine Research Centre to use genomics tools to characterize the yeast species and strains present in their vineyards and wineries. This project will provide the user partners with knowledge and tools to achieve the best outcomes for their spontaneously fermented wines: enhanced quality, regional typicity, and ultimately greater value in the marketplace. OCP and SBV will use this research to optimize their fermentation and sanitation protocols in future vintages, thereby improving product quality, and help with fermentation management and to exploit a potentially valuable resource of novel yeast species and strains that may enhance a wine’s quality and regional character.