Its new frozen, direct inoculation yeast pichia kluyveri – marketed under the name Viniflora Frootzen – was developed with New Zealand academics for use in ‘fresh’ white or rosé wines, and is designed to help wineries meet consumer demand for “natural, authentic and fruitier wines”.
The new yeast strain is found naturally in grape juice but Chr. Hansen claims it has not been used in commercial enology to date, and Chr. Hansen marketing director Laurent Hubert told FoodNavigator.com that when used alongside traditional yeast saccharomyces cerevisiae - which is needed because the new strain dies when the alcohol content of a solution exceeds 3-4% - it "releases wild ferment flavours and adds a complex mouth-feel, while increasing intensity".
Direct inoculation also cuts out the traditional need for producers to rehydrate yeast cells in order to further the fermentation process whereby yeast converts grape sugars into alcohol.Traditional dried yeasts need to reabsorb water in order to retain fermentation characteristics, while rehydrating them is necessary to further their dispersel during the process by stopping granules from sticking together.
The new yeast is said to save between 30 minutes and one hour per fermentation and removes the need to check temperatures during rehydration.
Hubert added that Chr. Hansen's pichia kluyveri also resolved production difficulties such as contamination where traditonal wild fermentation processes involving several different yeast strains are used.
Chr. Hansen's new Viniflora offering fits its strategy of providing “natural, high value specialty yeasts and malolactic cultures to the wine industry”, and Hubert said it expected its new Frootzen offering to “generate particular interest” in Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling wines.
The new yeast is scheduled for a 2011 launch in New Zealand after two years of local trials, and Hubert said it would be onsale from June next year in the major Northern Hemisphere white wines areas: Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain and the USA.
"There are a lot of European winemakers interested in the yeast," said Hubert, "we have Sauvignon producers in the Loire Valley (Sancerre area) and others in the Bordeaux region, while we also feel it could catch on in Southern Europe: Catalonia and Southern France where interesting Rose producers are based."
Dr. Matthew Goddard from the University of Auckland said his wine team had worked closely with Chr. Hansen to “harness the biodiversity” of natural microbes associated with New Zealand wines to develop “novel, natural ferment toolds that increase wine complexity and appeal”.
“This product represents an option for winemakers to naturally increase the microbial diversity of ferments in a reliable and consistent way. Along with the specific attributes, this strain of pichia kluyveri brings to the wine an increase in flavor and aroma complexity as well as adding body.” Go to FoodNavigator.com for more.