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Stealing yeast from "natural" wine

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Americanhooch

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Here's what I'm thinking. Would love to know if anyone else has tried this, or if you think it's nuts.

There's this "natural" wine (i.e low to no SO2, wild yeast, minimal intervention) I really like. And since it doesn't use any SO2, I was thinking that some of that wild yeast which contributes to the tastiness must still be kicking around in the bottle. So, I'm thinking of creating a starter with a bit of that wine and some juice, which I'd then use to kick off a batch. I'd use a Fontana kit for this (except the yeast of course) to keep costs low given the likelihood of failure.

Done this kind of thing? Good results? Is this a dumb idea?
 

Slappy

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It might be viable to get some yeast out of it. Only one way to find out. Plenty of people do it with beers, pretty popular thing with home brewers in Australia to do with Coopers beer to get their ale yeast, but works better with the lower alcohol beers as the yeast seems to be in better condition even though they use the same yeast across all their beers. There's probably someone on here that'd know more about any visble yeast being left in wine though so hopefully they'll chime in.
 

jburtner

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I wouldn’t necessarily refer to it as “stealing” - rather “saving their lives”.

Good luck and long live the yeasties!

-j
 

NorCal

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Most commercial wines are sterile filtered to 45 microns, which is small enough to filter out yeast. If you do get a fermentation going, not sure you can be assured it is the yeast used to make the original wine.
 

Venatorscribe

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Yep. Agree with all comments above. Give it a go. However - we don't know what we don't know. Could be a nice little contributing yeast cell or a smelly oily thing that ruins your juice. Most grape and / or fruit skins carry active yeast cells that would support a fresh natural fermentation. So just leaving it alone - just like the biodynamic and organic guys - will likely give you a nice fermentation.
 

Stressbaby

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Call me a skeptic.

What are the odds:
The character of your favored wine is due to the yeast
The wine still has viable yeast
You are able to culture the yeast (ie, they didn't sterile filter the wine)
The yeast becomes the dominant strain in your ferment
All of the above are true?
 

DoctorCAD

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Id guess that the yeast was removed during filtering. Otherwise, bottle bombs would result.
 

stickman

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This is definitely not like the sterile environment of beer. Since this is a "natural" wine, it may have some yeast present, assuming they didn't filter as others have suggested. For natural or uninoculated wines, it is usually the succession of different yeast that gives the interesting characteristics, and not just a single type of yeast or the yeast that might have finished the fermentation. There's no telling what yeast will propagate in your experiment, but nothing wrong with trying, you just have to have fun with the results.
 

Americanhooch

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Thanks, all. I figure I'll know pretty quick if the winery filters or I can't culture the yeast and all I would have lost is a few sips of the wine.

Stressbaby, you bring up good points though, and the ones that I think are interesting me about this in the first place: (1) whether and to what degree the yeast contributes to the character of the wine, and (2) if the yeast that created that character (if it does) is the kind that becomes dominant.

Anyway, think I'm going to be trying to revive it in some juice/nutrients tonight and I'll report back on the result (or nonresult).
 

BernardSmith

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Let's assume for the moment that yeast in natural wines has not been sterile filtered the best way to create a starter is not to stress the few yeast cells you are trying to get to bud and reproduce with a sugar mixture at a density of about 1.090 SG. I would culture the yeast closer to a gravity of about 1.040.
 

Americanhooch

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Ok it's been 48 hours and the starter hasn't started. Attempt #1 failed I'd say.

Bottle says "no chemicals or preservatives are introduced nor is the wine filtered or fined."
 

Americanhooch

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OK, so the starter started after day 3 and I pitched it over the weekend. It's got the kit bubbling away rather gently (not the vigorous ferment you'd expect with commercial yeast). Fingers crossed.
 
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