Recent studies have shown that non-Saccharomyces yeasts can confer positive attributes to the final composition of wine, giving products with more distinctive and specific styles. The proposal WINITALY aims to select, develop and produce new starter cultures of non-Saccharomyces yeasts with desirable oenological properties. The attention will be devoted to the species Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Starmerella bacillaris that display some oenological relevant features that would be worth exploiting. However, few
information is available in literature on several innovative aspects related to these species, e.g. not conventional technological properties (ability to degrade gluconic acid, anti-oxidants activity); interactions with Saccharomyces yeasts; and industrial performances. With the additional goal to fill some of these knowledge gaps, an experimental strategy will be outlined for the selection and study of yeasts belonging to these species for novel wine cultures development. At first it will be established a large collection of Sc. pombe and St. bacillaris strains that will include yeasts specifically isolated from different potential natural sources. Then, their physiological biodiversity will be explored to discover strains with desirable winemaking properties. Both essential and not conventional oenological parameters will be investigated in synthetic medium and in natural grape must. Once prospective isolates have been obtained, they will be properly identify and typified by advanced molecular techniques. Thereafter, the potential of using them alone or in association with industrial wine Saccharomyces strains will be investigated to identify the better cultures and combinations of strains. Finally, the development of protocols for the industrialization of the selected strains as cream yeast will carry out at the partner Company, allowing the diffusion of these relevant yeasts in the winemaking practice to tailor wines of unique character.