What type of yeast do I want to use with my fruit wine?
Here is a little breakdown for what type of yeast works well with which fruit:
Montrachet: A very good general use wine yeast for most fruits. When in doubt use this yeast. It is one of the more neutral yeasts available which allows the fruit flavor to comes through most.
Red Star Cotes Des Blanc and Lalvin K1V-1126: These yeast strains are very good for fruit that produces a "white wine" look at the end. Fruits such as apples or pears will work very well with this strain of wine yeast.
Red Star Pasteur Blanc and Lalvin EC-1118: These strains can be used to make apple wine, but the wine will typically turn out very dry. We recommend using these in cases where it is hard to get fermentation started because the extra aggressive nature of these strains allows the yeast to overcome less than ideal fermentation conditions. Works well with high acid fruits.
Don’t be afraid to try different strains of yeast because the yeast can play a large role in the final profile of your wine. Each person is different in what they look for in a wine, and the yeast can make it possible for you to find that exact profile that you were looking for. There is no rule that says you can't use a Pasteur Red yeast to make an apple wine. Give it a try; you might be surprised with the results.
A lot of people never think about what type of yeast to use with their wine. We believe that is because adding yeast to make wine is a relatively new concept. Years ago wine makers would place their fruit in a crock, or container, leave it open to the air and let what yeast was floating around start the fermentation. There are some obvious draw backs to this, but many people made wine this way up to the 1960’s and 1970’s. Some people continue to make wine this way.
We do not recommend making wine in this fashion for many reasons, but here are just a few for you:
So, now you want to make wine, but you’ve got Grandpa’s old recipe which just says to leave the container open and it will start to ferment on its own. What do you do? Simple, you mix everything together just as Grandpa's recipe says, but you add your own yeast to the juice.
Hint: In addition to adding yeast make sure you use a lid and an Airlock on your fermenter to prevent nasty things like bugs or bacteria from ruining your wine.
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