> I have been making wine from fresh grapes each sept. for the
> last few years. Ihave always relied on naturally present yeasts
> for formentation process. I have always had good results with
> this method. My normal volume of grapes is 25 cases of 36lbs. ea.
> This year i am seriously considering sterilising the must with
> campden tablets and pitching a commercial yeast strain.
> This year i will probably be using a cabernet sauvignon (85%)
> and ruby cab (15%) blend of grapes.
> I would like to know if there is a great advantage by using
> a commercial yeast strains and if so, can anyone recommend
> a suitable yeast ?
Good commercial yeasts (I would recommend Red Star or Lalvin) offer a safe,consistent
fermentation. Wild yeasts can be unpredictable, although if you always get grapes from the
same area, and have had good success, it is likely that a stable, beneficial yeast population
exists in the area. Different yeasts provide subtle variations in flavor and aroma. Some have
special characteristics, such as using Lalvin 71B for malic acid reduction. For Cabernets and
Merlots, the Wine Lab suggests Red Star Pasteur Red. Montrachet would also be an
acceptable choice, but I would add nutrients to lessen the chance of hydrogen sulfide.
Why not split up your batch this year and experiment? Do some au naturel, some with
commercial yeasts. There may be noticeable differences early on, or they may not appear for