Yeasts with Galician DNA

Simón e Noelia, de Noelia Bebelia.
Simón y Noelia, de Noelia Bebelia.

When Simon and Noelia decided six years ago to open a small Albariño winery in his native Soutomaior they did it conscientiously . He, an industrial engineer, and she, an economist, had no experience or relationship with the world of wine but had the ambition to make the “perfect” plantation to create the winery Noelia Bebelia . They hired a consultant team including researchers from the University of Vigo, the CSIC, and enologists. After studying the characteristics of the ground and the incidence of wind and sun on it, they decided what ground would be used, what kind of vide would be planted and even the distance between the feet of vines. They planted 6,000 vines in three hectares of land on the slopes of the Verdugo river. “The idea was to do it with all the knowledge of Galician agronomist staff to create the perfect plantation ” explains Simon Barcia, head of the winery beside his wife.

Noelia Bebelia.
Noelia Bebelia.

But four years ago, the time of the experimental vinification and behaviour test of the grape came and they found a problem that got them away from that perfection that marks the whole process: the yeasts. “Or we choose the trade ones , which come from France, Italy or the United States , or we choose the traditional way of spontaneous fermentation with yeast own grape “.

The process is not easy or quick or cheap. It will begin in September or October with the grape harvest and the making of the first must. All these samples will be sent to one of two laboratories in Spain, in Barcelona or La Rioja, where DNA studies on different yeasts, that are in the skin of grapes, are made. Then non-native yeasts will be discarded as well as trade ones with their “killer factor” because they get imposed on local ones. Only 20 or 30 will be selected from all of them and small fermentations will be made to compare their behavior and results. The best yeast will be chosen which will be used for the first harvest and to be retained in glycerol in the laboratory. The process will last about two years. It is becoming now affordable for small wineries, as the payout is about 14,000 euros. It is unusual in Galicia because only large wineries could afford it before DNA Analyses became cheaper.

The aim of Bebelia is to obtain a unique wine on the market, which is  planted on their land on Verdugo river shores where the raw material, grapes and yeast come from its ground. It is unusual in most of wineries using trade yeasts from other regions . In two years, after many tests and laboratory hours, Noelia Bebelia may present the fruit of his obsessive viticulture.


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