How do microorganisms influence the winemaking process?

Wine market is developing a growing global demand for high-quality wines, so the competence is also growing. Is it possible to make the difference in such a crowded industry? The answer is yes, and it can be found in the present microorganisms during all the winemaking process.

As we explained before, microorganisms contribute to the sensory regional distinctiveness and the wine style of the winery currently plays an important role in differentiation and competitiveness in the worldwide market. If something can distinguish one vineyard from another, among other factors, it certainly is its microbial community. It influences not only wine’s quality but also the organoleptic features of the wine.

Microbes transform plant products into socio-economically important products and fermented beverages, such as wine, which is an extremely important sector for several countries. Furthermore, the bacterial communities on grapes have the potential to influence the organoleptic properties of the wine, contributing to a regional terroir.
On their journey from the vineyard to the wine bottle, grapes are transformed to wine through microbial activity, with indisputable consequences for wine quality parameters. The role of the microbiota influencing the flavor, color and quality of the wine, from a biology perspective, remained elusive until recently. It has been demonstrated that a growing number of yeasts and bacteria are active participants in wine fermentations. This has important contributions to wine sensory qualities.


The key to define the sensory profile of wines

For example, wine organoleptic characteristics are affected by the origin and genetics of wild Saccharomyces cerevisiae natural strains. This provides objective evidence for a microbial aspect to terroir. Meanwhile, the Vitis vinifera phyllosphere is colonized by bacteria and fungi. These especies substantially modulate grapevine health, development, and grape and wine qualities. Many microbes inhabiting the grape surface cannot survive to some of the conditions during wine fermentation. However, their metabolic activity on the grape surface can have long-ranging consequences. That is the reason why some grape-surface microbes can grow and survive in wine fermentations, and several of them are implicated in wine spoilage downstream.

Wine imparts its taste and smell via metabolites. Many of them are derived from the grapes and many derived from or modified by microbes. Identifying which microbes influence all the winemaking processes is key to defining how they affect the sensory profile of wines. Do you want to know which ones are the responsible for your wine’s characteristics? WineSeq can help you identify them and make a substantial difference in the market.