Latest news

1st Meeting of "WILDWINE"

Kick Off Meeting of WILDWINE projectHosted by the Cooperative Winery of [...]

2nd meeting

The 2nd WILDWINE meeting took place in Bordeaux France on Thursday 20th of June 2013 hosted by the [...]

3rd meeting of WILDWINE

The 3rd project meeting hosted by ARALDICA and University of Turin at Il Cascinone, Acqui Therme, [...]

4th meeting

4th Meeting of WILDWINE project in Tarragona, Spain hosted by URV, DOQ Priorat and Ferrer Bobet  [...]

5th meeting

The 5th progress meeting of WILDWINE hosted by the Hellenic Agricultural Organisation "DEMETER" at [...]

6th meeting - workshop

The last meeting of the project hosted by the Cooperative Union of Peza in Herakleion Crete [...]




 The project "WILDWINE" has received funding from the European Union's 7th Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 315065.


The European wines are back...and they are "wild".

Aforetime, wines were produced by the resident grape/winery microbiota. Currently commercial Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Oenococcus oeni starter cultures are widely used to ensure a manageable process. Despite advantages, this may lead to sensory resemblance of wines from diverse origins, whereas exotic starters may fail to take over fermentation. Nowadays, the competitive nature of global wine market urges for the production of premium wines with regional character. Consumers also call for allergen-free wines made according to natural and organic procedures. To this end, the use of indigenous S. cerevisiae or non-Saccharomyces (wild) yeasts is a tool to create wine complexity and authenticity, while selected lactic acid bacteria (LAB) may effectively control malolactic fermentation and thereby eliminate biogenic amines (BA).


Read more: Introduction

Overall impact

‘WILDWINE’  will have a significant impact for the EU wine sector, the consumers and the society:

  • Launching in the market of novel products, ‘wild-ferment’ wines, in line to the ‘terroir concept’ and consumers’ demands
  • Compliance with regulations for organic wine production and biogenic amines content
  • Increased sales due to consistent high quality and attractive nature of wines as consumers expect to be
  • Quality research results on feasibility and application of standard, efficient fermentation procedures that could be readily delivered to wine companies, many of which operate at the SMEs level in several EU-member states
  • Assistance towards wine-producing SMEs for maintaining and further improving competitiveness, especially with New World countries
  • Preservation of the microbial diversity within viticultural regions and reinforcement of the wine-viticultural sector towards a more environmentally sustainable development
  • Promotion of the local economy and employment


The main concept of the WildWine project is to exploit the indigenous microbial diversity in the development of original starter cultures to be used in the production of ‘wild-ferment’ terroir wines.

The innovative scope of the proposed project is to combine indigenous Saccharomyces with non-Saccharomyces cultures and indigenous Oenococcus oeni with LAB species in the formation of peculiar yeast and bacterial blends, respectively. These formulations will be carefully designed to fulfill all the essential and desirable winemaking properties, thus to serve as starter cultures in induced wild fermentations. Our goal is to assign a set of indigenous, novel and privileged strains to the respective PDO European districts to serve as “microbial signature” in the production of organic wines.

The ultimate goal is to enable the SME-AGs and their members to diversify and deliver innovative, safe and consumer driven wines of premium quality that will confront the forthcoming regulations on organic wine production and biogenic amine content for national and global markets. By these means the project will assist the SME-AGs from the leading wine producing countries in Europe (France, Greece, Italy, Spain) to enhance their marketing abilities towards a more competitive and sustainable wine industry.

The Project's targets

  1. Assessment of the indigenous yeast and bacterial diversity involving the isolation of the local yeast and bacterial biodiversity associated with the respective terroirs, the identification of isolates at the species level and the typing of isolates at the strain level with advanced molecular techniques
  2. Pre-selection of strains with enological potential based on the evaluation of the enological characteristics of yeasts and bacteria by in vitro tests, the assessment of the genetic stability of strains with enological potential through karyotype analysis and the evaluation of the key enological traits of yeasts and bacteria by genetic and molecular analyses. The generation of enological yeast and bacteria culture collections for the respective viticultural zones is also foreseen.
  3. Evaluation of the performance of pre-selected strains during micro-fermentations on the basis of fermentation kinetics, chemical and sensory characteristics of the finished wines
  4. Implementation of selected strains and blends as starter cultures in pilot scale wine production. The performance of indigenous yeast blends, bacterial strains and inoculation protocols will be assessed in pilot-scale production of ‘wild-ferment’ wines at the premises of the wineries
  5. Consumer studies will be implemented for evaluating the market potential for ‘wild-ferment’ terroir wines produced by the selected indigenous yeasts and bacteria
  6. Exploitation, dissemination and training activities will be carried out to support the exploitation and to protect the Intellectual Property Rights of the project results, to disseminate the knowledge resulting from the project both to the members of the SME-AGs of the consortium and beyond to a wider audience and to train the SME-AGs and their SMEs to facilitate the take-up of the project results


The need for WILDWINE

The wine sector is of significant importance to the EU rural output, accounting for 45% of wine-growing areas, 65% of production, 57% of global consumption and 70% of exports in global terms. France, Greece, Italy and Spain represent more than 50% of both the total world production and the total world trade. Although EU has been traditionally a leading producer of wine worldwide, it is recently experiencing a continuous decline and a very noticeable qualitative change in demand since 1980s. This market share is enduringly gained by the more recent entrances into the wine industry, such as the United States, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, which are considered the New World countries. Compared to those countries, the EU wine sector appears extremely fragmented as it is largely dominated by small producers, particularly vulnerable to annual variations in production and quality of the final product. The costs of adhering to the forthcoming regulations on biogenic amines concentration and organic wine production, will also have a significant impact on the producers. Member States are particularly alarmed by the demand for New World wines and the reform of the common market organisation adopted by the EU in 2008 has shifted its goals towards making EU wine producers more competitive, enhancing the reputation of European wines and regaining market share both in the EU and outside. To accomplish this goal the sector will require incorporation of new technology, conformation to the proposed and forthcoming regulatory issues, efficient control of the processes, adaptation of its products to the consumers’ demands and the launching of new products.

One important marketing aspect, although rather underestimated in the past, is that consumers expect wine from a particular region to possess unique qualities and character that differentiate it from other wines of the same variety from other regions. Although wines perceived to be of high quality can be produced anywhere, according to the concept of terroir the composition of wine produced in a specific growing region will be influenced by the local environment. This includes, among others, the contribution of the indigenous microflora in shaping the wine unique quality. This ‘value added’ economic aspect of local wine production is remarkable, and it is the main reason why many wine-makers support strong research in the development and improvement of fermentations by the use of indigenous microflora. This trend for the so-called ‘wild-ferment’ wines is anticipated to increase in the near future, considering a significant shift in consumer preference from basic commodity wines to premium and ultra-premium wines. Moreover, rules about certain types of organic wines are expected to include constraints for the use of solely indigenous yeasts and bacteria in alcoholic and malolactic fermentations (MLF), respectively. Indeed, several national and private established standards already impose the use of indigenous yeasts instead of industrial yeast starters.


Event & Activities

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