yeast banking

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Sep 14, 2009
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I have searched the forums and have not seen any posts of anyone trying to "bank" wine yeast. In beer making people do it from the primary or make a low gravity starter and propagate from that. I understand why you would not use yeast from a wine primary since it is stressed out from the high gravity at the end of fermenting dry but what about if you made a low gravity must and saved some of that yeast using the same procedure for saving beer yeast?

Anyone try it yet? I know some will say "Why bother when the yeast is so cheap to buy in the stores?" but some of us live far away from the HBS and when you add in the shipping cost the yeast is not so cheap.
The price of wine yeast is much cheaper than beer yeast. If you look you can get wine yeast for under a DOLLAR. Why even try to reuse?
the science of it is fun. I have successfully done it with beer yeast. And over time you could have quite a selection and not have to wait for a specific strain to come in the mail (I have 6 different strains banked for beer now). In spite of the 3 P's, what about minimum shipping cost on small orders being $7 for me. So far, I just keep a couple packets of RS champagne and Montrechet to use in a pinch.
It can be done sure, you will want to make a starter out of it and aerate it because the cellular walls are weaker then a beers due to the longer time it takes to ferment out a wine and the higher abv the yeast has to deal with. Are you talking about making a very low alc wine just to get the yeast? Id rather just make an order for yeast and order more and keep them stored in the fridge, they will last a long time that way. But science is always fun also so if you do go this route keep us informed. Many people also just use Fleishmans bread yeast but be warned it doesnt have a great abv tolerance.
I guess I'm surprised that in 'SF California' (presumably San Francisco), there is no nearby source of wine yeast.

I am aware of some folks who have saved wine yeast from liquid yeasts, and some people who have added more must (and nutrients) on top of the yeast remaining in the primary. The latter is a method popular for Skeeter Pee. But, I haven't done it.

I have dabbled in yeast culturing since i mostly do beer and the white labs yeast vials are nearly 8$ with out shipping. If you really want to be creative dont buy a yeast and start from that but get some grapes and mash them up and let them sit on your counter to ferment from the natural yeast on the grape skin...then take that discard the grapes and pitch it in a starter...once you get that going store in fridge and use when you make a wine...leave a little in the bottle to restart your starter and store in the fridge for the next time you make wine ....and so on...and so forth. Works just like making a homemade sourdough bread culture

if you really want to get be picky take a sample with an inoculating loop from the fermenting grapes and spread on a petry dish to make a culture and isolate just the yeast....and make a starter From the isolated yeast....This involves a bit of microbiology knowledge as far as how to's and techniques, but its not rocket science!
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