Yeast Beasts

Fermentation is unavoidable. It is not just something that makes Kombucha and kimchi (I am speaking to all you urban intermittent fasting health junkies.) Fermentation is an integral part of many foods and many different cultures. It is often spontaneous and results in some otherworldly flavors.

Yeasts are like us, just a lot smaller. The winemaker I am working for is convinced that yeasts have a mind of their own, that they are far more complex than we know. And, I agree. Sometimes yeasts are feisty. They can party all night then sleep the entire next day. They are also loud! During primary fermentation, they can aggressively bubble and buzz. It is a hope-drenching and exciting little symphony. Primary fermentation is kinda like childhood actually. These nuggets go crazy for sugar, like kids in a playground after hitting up the Mister Softee truck.

Working at a custom crush, you handle multiple grapes varieties. They are not always from the same location and are often harvested at different times. This makes for unique fermentations as terroir and ripeness effects a wine’s evolution during primary fermentation. This is also highly dependent on the yeast the wine is inoculated with. This would naturally lead to a discussion on spontaneous and inoculated fermentation.

I may be lashed by ‘natural wine’ lovers for saying this, BUT inoculation is not a crime against nature. Especially at a custom crush facility, where several different projects are simultaneously underway, it is the safest to rely on inoculation. I will explain and open up the floor on this topic more with my Natural Wine article that is in progress…!

Back on track here, I wanted to acknowledge my admiration of yeasts and enamor with fermentation with a load of photos. Each showcases the brilliance of yeast in action. It is wine (in the) making. Without yeast, there is no wine! And without wine, is there life? (Rhetorical, but I am open to responses…)

macerated berries, pre-juicy
graciano in transition
close up on the grenache invasion…
grenache facing invasion!

These photos are all so marvelously cosmic to me. I feel like they seduce me into a grape galaxy far far away…

Yeasts are basically the Fates of wine, weaving its enthralling future path.

That’s all the enthusiasm I brought today. Buonanotte peeps!

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