Home Wine Industry Spotlights An Innovative Approach to Sparkling Wines, from Yeast Selection to Process Efficiency

An Innovative Approach to Sparkling Wines, from Yeast Selection to Process Efficiency


The number of Americans enjoying sparkling wines is definitely on the rise. Between 2019 and 2022, sparkling wine consumers rose by 30 percent, with the frequency of imbibing also increasing from 55 to 72 percent (Wine Intelligence, September 28, 2022).

For winemakers eager to capitalize on this trend, Fermentis, a business unit of Lesaffre, an innovator in the research, development, and supply of fermentation solutions for the beverage industry for nearly 170 years, has developed new advanced oenological tools to save time and simplify operations. Ease and quality combined in a range of products.

Fermentis is the maker of the E2U™ certified SafOeno™ range of yeast strains that can be used in more flexible ways, one of them being directly pitched into the must without prior rehydration, saving winemakers critical time, energy, and water use during the primary winemaking process without impacting the performance of the fermentation or the quality of the wine. To go further, Fermentis also brought to the market E2U™ yeast-derived fermentation aids, nutrients, and functional products that allow for faster dispersibility in water, lower pulverulence (less dustiness), and with innovative formats (micro-granulated powders and liquids) for an overall improved ease of use and fermentation performances.

Following the market needs, Fermentis also developed an innovative sparkling wine yeast program over the past several years with two new yeast strains certified E2U™ known as SafOeno™ PR 106 (2021) for fruit-forward sparkling wines such as Prosecco and SafOeno™ SPK 05 (2023) for clean and mineral sparkling wines like Champagne. Two strains for distinctive flavors and aromas, both great fermenters and adapted to sparkling winemaking conditions.

Of course, sparkling wine requires an additional fermentation step known as Prise de Mousse (PDM), allowing a base wine to become effervescent. A yeast starter is added to the sweetened base wine to ferment the sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide. The preparation of the yeast starter, also known as Pied de Cuve, is a complex two-step process that typically takes three to five days. It requires a lot of attention and dedication as its quality is crucial for the success of the PDM. This sparked another idea in Fermentis: to make the inoculation of the base wine easier as well.

Through yeast selection and optimization of the yeast starter preparation protocol Fermentis proposed a new innovative protocol with SafOeno™ SPK 05 that can be accomplished in a shorter time and done in a single step.

The trials show that SafOeno™ SPK 05 can be used in a flexible and innovative way to inoculate the must (direct pitching) but also to inoculate the base wine for the PDM through the production of a yeast starter in a simplified 36 hr-one-step process, saving both time and energy, while resulting in high-quality PDM performance in terms of kinetics, desired carbonation, and wine sensory characteristics.

You can read more about the study and the protocol here.

“Our innovation through product development is always aimed at simplifying, not complicating the winemakers’ work,” affirms Anne Flesch, Fermentis Technical Sales Support Manager for the Americas. “Through different partnerships we’ve been able to launch two new excellent yeast strains fitting the market’s need for high quality distinctive sparkling wines that can also be used in a much easier way.”

To learn more about it, we invite you to join us at an online webinar in North America.

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