Project 3.2.1

Putting microbial diversity to work in shaping wine style

Project summary

The AWRI has a long history in microbial strain development and the successful deployment and commercialisation of newly-developed strains. This project aims to build on that history.
There is substantial scope to both refine existing strains (such as the ‘rose’ yeast and Saccharomyces bayanus hybrids) and optimise their use through varietal or wine style pairing. For example, building on knowledge gained through production of the ‘rose’ yeast, this project will explore the degree to which yeast aromatic profiles can be modulated by modification of carbon flux through amino acid biosynthetic pathways.

Molecular technology will help to determine what is possible, and will provide foundational knowledge on biosynthetic pathways and markers for strain selection. Identification of molecular markers for specific aromatic traits will permit targeted selection of strains isolated during bioprospecting work.

In addition, this project will tap into resources identified in other AWRI projects that have a bioprospecting focus. Novel microorganisms, after initial screening, will be put to work directly through use of appropriate winemaking techniques and/or be used as source material for introducing greater genetic diversity into existing wine strains. Together these breeding and selection strategies will deliver non-genetically modified germplasm that can be used by industry, and will provide new microorganisms for winemakers seeking a point of differentiation in their wines.