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.
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.