White Labs makes yeast year-round for brewers and others, but during the annual grape harvest, White Labs is one of the largest if not the largest producers of wine yeast in America. The main production plant is turned into 24-hour shifts to meet the urgent needs of winemakers whose fruit is coming in from the ﬁelds. Using fresh yeast (as opposed to dry) is a niche in the wine ﬁeld, but going fresh can make a considerable difference in ﬂavor and performance for wine, and White Labs has amassed a cult following among winemakers for its specialty strains. The ﬂavor possibilities are also limitless, because unlike industrial strains that are dried down in bulk, White Labs strains can be custom-made for you in small batches.
We also grow and supply malolactic bacteria. White Labs works with many winemakers to isolate their own strains and produce fresh pure cultures for them on demand. The Native Yeast Program offers tailored solutions to clients interested in obtaining a proprietary “estate culture,” isolated from their local environment such as facility, old barrels or winemaking equipment. The techniques allow the client to differentiate their product while staying true to their origin and brand characteristics, and are furthermore a powerful tool for taming a spontaneous fermentation.
As a TTB Wine-certiﬁed lab, White Labs provides lab services, including test kits, for those in the wine business. The samples can be sent into White Labs directly following the instructions on this website, or kits can be purchased from stores.
White Labs works with Enartis Vinquiry to grow several of the company’s popular liquid yeast cultures including W-S. White Labs provides services for sparkling wine producers, who have special yeast and fermentation needs.
Hobbyists have long understood the advantages of White Labs, and as these folks have opened their own wineries, White Labs business in this ﬁeld as spiked. Says Gary Wilder, Brew Your Own Brew, Tucson, AZ: “White Labs liquid wine yeast is similar to their beer yeasts. They enhance the ﬂavor proﬁle and the wine fermentation starts quicker than with dry yeast, which leaves less chance for bacterial contamination. After the customer selects the ingredients for their wine, we ask ‘Would you like live yeast?’ and then select the proper yeast for their ingredients and wine varietals.” Added Robert Christian, The Beer Essentials, Tacoma, WA: “We did an experiment. We chose one red and one white making two batches of each. One batch was made with dry yeast supplied with the kit and the other batch was made with White Labs liquid yeast. The wines made with the liquid yeast were much smoother, aged quicker and were overall easier drinking.”