Yeasts from Cavallaro Wine Cellar

During the Thanksgiving holidays in Upstate New York, I spent some time in my father in law’s wine cellar. He has about 30 barrels and glass carboys, all filled with wine, some old, some new. Certain barrels have developed a funky flavor over the years. All the yeast in them is from the grapes, or at least, not added by the vinter himself. I have been there quite a few times, tasting the wine and marveling about the shear amount of space and the volume being present.

The Wine Cellar in Upstate NY


Now what do we have here?

But this time, I came more prepared. I brought a bunch of conical tubes, and some cotton swabs; I wanted some samples to see what would be there, and not just for tasting. I put out a bunch of plates at various locations in the wine cellar, and left them for a couple of days unopened. I took several swipes on the wood and the little wooden spigots to try to isolate as much as I could. With a wine thief I took several samples from faulty and wonderful wine. I covered all my bases in this way.

The plates (4 in total, with YPEM media) developed quite the flora after just a few days at room temperature:


Lots of stuff, here a little close-up:


Not that many yeast colonies visually present, but I was able to get 7 clean colonies streaked. These all looked pretty yeast-like just by visual inspection as you can see on these plates below. The photo is a little unclear, I apologize for that. Lots of mold and other junk normally seen with open plates.

 Three of the liquid cultures grew:

And they are definitely yeast, see below for the micrographs. As you can see not pure, but I already have them streaked. Very curious if these will be of interest for brewing, and what flavors they will impart.

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2 thoughts on “Yeasts from Cavallaro Wine Cellar

  1. Oh that is totally cool!
    I bet you’ll isolate some really cool strains. The bacteria look like acetobacter to me. They are in wine and there aren’t that many bacteria who can reach such a big size.

  2. Thanks BKYeast. Indeed some kind of bacillus, most likely acetobacter. Ill get rid of them pretty quick by serial plating and selective growths. Next week Ill be culturing big batches for some test growths.

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