Home Wine Industry Spotlights Direct Pitch Yeasts Celebrate 10 Years of Winemaking Success!

Direct Pitch Yeasts Celebrate 10 Years of Winemaking Success!


Winemaking techniques constantly evolve as the wine industry develops, tests, and adopts new methods. Individual winemakers hone their craft and processes by experimenting with new approaches, and changes that felt revolutionary at first become part of the natural evolution that technology, time, and experience create.

Ten years ago, global fermentation leader Fermentis introduced a groundbreaking new certification for their SafOenoTM yeast called E2UTM (Easy to Use). Building on almost 170 years of experience and their know-how in Active Dry Yeast production technologies, Fermentis’ now 14 SafOeno E2U™ certified yeasts give the winemakers the flexibility of pitching directly into the must without prior rehydration; an evolutionary leap in winemaking.

Direct pitch saves winemakers critical time, energy, and water, while also offering greater safety, convenience, and pollution reduction options during overall winemaking operations. An important benefit of E2U™ is that rehydration is still an option for winemakers who prefer to maintain that step with their yeast. It even allows for more flexibility in the temperature of the water that can be used to rehydrate the yeast (from 10 to 38° Celsius).

Fermentis’ production and drying processes allow the yeast to be at its optimal state and its membrane to be the best equipped to handle these different conditions. Each strain is produced with a specific recipe ensuring they meet the standards for the certification. “The certification is based on the way we produce high-quality active dry yeast, not on the selection of specific strains that are more resistant and less aromatically interesting. You still get a wide selection of options for all types of wines and aromatic profiles,” says Anne Flesch, Technical Sales Support Manager at Fermentis for the Americas.

“For each yeast strain, our certification is backed up with specific tests and trials that ensure that however the winemaker is choosing to inoculate within the E2U™ recommendations, Fermentis guarantees the same yeast viability, vitality—seen as fermentation performances and production of key metabolites—and resulting wines of equivalent quality,” says Arnaud Delaherche, Technical Manager for fruit fermentation at Fermentis R&D. 

To assess the quality of the wines Fermentis uses different proven methods such as qualitative tasting or triangular tastings with professional panels. If there is no statistical difference between the wines, you know that the inoculation method is not making a difference. Examples of certification trials can be found here.

A decade later, some winemakers have not yet tried direct pitch yeasts, while others have completely converted to direct pitch for many vintages. Meanwhile, Fermentis has been partnering with wineries on trials for 10 years, and these validations give winemakers the assurance needed to integrate direct pitch into their winemaking process. A large-scale trial conducted in California on Chardonnay with SafOeno™ GV S107 used with rehydration and acclimatization vs. direct pitch measured yeast populations and implantation rates, fermentation kinetics, key aromatic volatile compounds and was submitted to triangular tasting. It showed what you can expect from Fermentis’ products and certification.

When adapting proven methods to new technologies, winemakers often want assurances first, especially since tradition and literature still teach that yeast rehydration is needed to ensure that it won’t result in stuck or sluggish fermentation. “I’ve noticed that winemakers like to dip their toes into using the direct pitch method,” says Anne Flesch. “They can immediately use direct pitch yeasts to bypass the rehydration or only the acclimatization. They can also start to simply rehydrate E2U™ yeasts in a wider range of temperatures. Even with these first steps it can save them time and allow them to gain confidence in the concept.” 

The fact that winemakers have been successfully using E2U™ for 10 years, and that its use has grown steadily in small to large wineries speaks for itself. “I’m very confident about our direct pitch concept,” says Flesch. “In the six years I’ve been with Fermentis, I’ve never had someone come back and say it didn’t work or that they were unhappy with the resulting wine. Winemakers who choose to use E2U™ usually never look back. We have even seen some trials where direct pitching allowed them to save critical time on inoculation in a must with a high microbial load where the yeast implantation was greatly favored by a direct pitch 45 min sooner.” These results were presented at Enoforum USA 2022. 

Fermentis still strongly recommends a healthy yeast management program with an appropriate nutrition protocol for each wine and strain and with adequate temperature and oxygen management. The addition of yeast hulls is also recommended when high alcohol is expected or other risks of fermentation arrest. These key steps will ensure you can best avoid sluggish or stuck fermentations from any type of inoculation process.

“October is when winemakers are looking for flexibility,” notes James Roblee, a 14-year veteran winemaker who trialed and approved E2U™ and is now a technical support representative at ATPGroup. “With harvest in full swing, the long hours are starting to wear everyone down, which can lead to mistakes or skipped steps. It’s the perfect time to try E2U™ yeast, either with the direct pitch method or by rehydrating it and being more relaxed about temperature.”

Learn more about E2U™ direct pitch yeast by watching a recent webinar on the subject. You can also contact Anne Flesch at a.flesch@fermentis.lesaffre.com

The Fermentis SafŒno™ yeasts with E2U™ direct pitch technology and all Fermentis winemaking yeast products are distributed in the USA by ATPGroup and can be found on the ATPGroup website or by calling your ATPGroup Enology Products Specialist at (707) 836-6840. You can also contact ATPGroup’s James Roblee at (707) 203-0310.

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