It’s a treat to watch a sweet, fruity liquid turning into an alcoholic drink on your kitchen counter. If you’re someone who loves to DIY things, you will enjoy making wine at home. Don’t worry; it’s simple! You just have to make sure to pick the right ingredients – grapes (or any other fruit that you want to use) and wine yeast – and be patient to let nature do its magic.
In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Choices
While selecting the grape varietal for wine making isn’t that big of a deal, a lot of people struggle with choosing the yeast. This article aims to answer the long-standing question – what is the best yeast for making wine?
The 5 Best Yeasts for Making Wine
There are several types of wine yeasts available on the market. But, not all of them provide the same results. To help make your DIY wine making experience, we have selected the five best wine making yeasts. Keep reading to find out what each of them has to offer to pick the right one for yourself!
1. Lalvin ICV-D47 Wine Yeast
Number 1 best seller on Amazon in the category of Wine Making Yeasts & Cultures, Lalvin ICV-D47 is derived from French wine yeast strains and has a fast mechanism of action. The yeast starts working and producing foams within a few hours. It is a great option for those who like spicy aromas, citrusy flavors, and full mouthfeel. It is particularly ideal for making full-bodied Chardonnay white wines.
This Lalvin yeast strain has a low alcohol tolerance, so the final product will be less dry. However, it does a great job of enhancing the flavor of the fruit being used.
- A great option for making white wines with rich,fruity flavors
- Begins working quickly
- Low alcohol tolerance
- Requires wine yeast nutrients
2. Red Star Classique
Red Star is a leading name in the wine making industry and offers a variety of wine yeasts. This particular strain, previously known as Montrachet wine yeast, is a popular choice for making wine at home. It has a high alcohol tolerance (up to 15%) and produces wines with complex flavors, intense color, and higher mouthfeel. While it can be used to make white and rose wines, it works the best for red wines.
Red Start Premier Classique wine yeast is also light on pocket – you just need one 5 grams packet to ferment a 5-gallon bucket.
- High-alcohol tolerance
- Can be used to make a variety of different types of wines
- Doesn’t need a lot of nitrogen for fermentation
- Not suitable for mellow drinks
3. Red Star Premier Blanc
Previously known as Red Star Pasteur Champagne, Premier Blanc is a great choice for white wines, though it can be used for some red wines and meads too. However, it’s not meant to be used to make sparkling wines.
Premier Blanc starts working quite rapidly and has a moderate to high alcohol tolerance. The average alcohol tolerance rate of this wine making yeast is 13%. However, it can be taken to 15% with flow fermentation. Its efficient mechanism of action makes it a viable option for producing wines from fruits concentrates and juices too. Overall, the yeast has a neutral flavor profile and gives a subtle aroma to the drink.
- Great for restarting stuck fermentations
- Good resistance to sulfur dioxide
- Can also be used to make soda and carbonated drinks
- Some people feel that it leaves a slight yeasty flavor in the drink
4. Vintner’s Harvest Premium Wine Yeast – CY17
Want to know what is the best yeast for making wine with rich tropical fruity flavor and aroma?
CY17 Premium Wine Yeast by Vintner’s Harvest is your best bet!
The yeast strain has a slow mechanism of action and can take up to 35 days to fully ferment some types of wines. But, this is exactly what allows it to really enhance the flavors of the fruit and gives the drink a full mouthfeel.
- Use country fruits and flowers with this strain of yeast to get the best results
- Ideal for making dessert wines and sweet white wines
- Can also be used to make sweet sparkling wines
- One of the best wine yeast strains for experimentation
- Very delicate
5. Lalvin EC-118 Dried Wine Yeast
This strain of Lalvin’s wine yeast is an ideal choice for making champagnes and sparkling wines at home. What really makes it great is its high-temperature tolerance – the yeast can work within the range of 50o to 86o Fahrenheit. It also has a high alcohol tolerance and can produce sparkling wines with up to 18% alcohol content.
Home winemakers also like this yeast strain due to its speed of fermentation.
- A great option for beginners
- Can function is a wide range of temperatures
- Fast mechanism of action (fermentation)
- Great to restart stuck fermentations
- You need to be watchful, or the drink can get excessively dry
What Factors to Consider When Choosing Wine Yeast?
As mentioned earlier, the selection of yeast is one of the most important steps of the wine making process. There are several strains of wine making yeasts, each with its own set of characteristics and mechanisms of action. The type of yeast you use will determine the quality, characteristics, aroma, and flavor of the wine.
To help you figure out what is the best yeast for making wine (just the kind you want), here we are highlighting the key factors that need to be considered when buying wine yeast:
Attenuation refers to the measure of a yeast strain’s ability to ferment fruit sugar. The higher the attenuation level of a yeast, the more sugar it can ferment. This, in turn, will determine how dry the wine will be.
Yeast strains with higher attenuation produce dry wines, whereas the ones with low attenuation will produce sweeter wines.
The term alcohol tolerance refers to the amount of alcohol in the drink a yeast can tolerate. The higher the alcohol tolerance of a yeast strain, the stronger the wine will be and vice versa.
Different wine yeast strains give different flavor profiles to the final product. Some strains produce fruit wines, some add a citrus hint to the drink, and some yeasts produce dry wines. There are several flavor profiles of wines. Figure out what kind of flavor you want and choose a strain accordingly; it’s typically written on wine yeast packets.
Speed of Fermentation
Some wine yeasts have a faster mechanism of actions, whereas others work slowly. Although the speed of fermentation doesn’t affect the quality of the wine, you may want to consider it if you want the wine to be ready within a certain period of time. For example, if you’re making homemade wine for a party, you should consider the fermentation speed of the yeast strain to make sure the drink will be ready in time.
Our Final Thoughts
Yeast plays a key role in wine making process. It determines the flavor, aroma, strength, dryness level, and the quality of the drink. So, there’s no one answer to the question – what is the best yeast for making wine at home? It depends on what type of wine you want to make. Take a look at the yeast verities discussed above to find out the best one for yourself, according to your taste and preference.