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Yeast found which lowers alcohol content of wine

People who enjoy a couple of glasses of light wine on occasion, if not everyday, have been pleased with research that has shown moderate consumption of red wine is heart healthy and may even be good for your mind. However, the taste of wine and health benefits of wine consumption could be countered if the alcohol content is too high. It is therefore good news for many wine lovers to learn that a special newly found yeast can reduce alcohol levels in wine, reported the American Society for Microbiology on Jan. 16, 2014.

A woman enjoying a glass of red wine
Morguefile/Free photo

A team of Australian researchers has identified special yeast that produce a lower level of alcohol, while helping to preserve the flavor of wine. This research has been published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The average ethanol concentration of wine has increased over recent decades. This has been primarily due to consumer preference for wine styles which are associated with increased grape maturity. As grapes mature sugar content increases and this translates into increased alcohol content in wine. The alcoholic content of wine has gradually increased in the last 10-15 years from 12-12.5 percent to beyond 15 percent.

This is a disturbing trend for wine lovers because the flavor and character of some wines is threatened by the increased alcohol content. A consideration of this matter along with issues of public health, and taxes, with some countries taxing by alcoholic content, have created a need for approaches to lowering alcohol content in wine. The researchers found the slower-growing Metschnikowia yeasts consumed 50 percent of the sugar, and S. cerevisiae were added to the mix to complete the process. What is referred to as this “sequential inoculation” lowered the alcohol content in Shiraz from 15 percent to 13.4 percent, and somewhat less in Chardonnay. This is a step in the right direction to help keep wine tasting good and beneficial for your health.

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