The fungal microbiome is an important component of vineyard ecosystems and correlates with regional distinctiveness of wine
The flavors of fermented plant foods and beverages are formed by microorganisms, and in the case of wine, the location and environmental features of the vineyard site also imprint the wine with distinctive aromas and flavors. Microbial growth and metabolism play an integral role in wine production, by influencing grapevine health, wine fermentation, and the flavor, aroma, and quality of finished wines. The contributions by which microbial distribution patterns drive wine metabolites are unclear, and while flavor has been correlated with fungal and bacterial composition for wine, bacterial activity provides fewer sensorially active biochemical conversions than fungi in wine fermentation. Here, we collected samples across six distinct wine-growing areas in southern Australia to investigate regional distribution patterns of fungi and bacteria and the association with wine chemical composition. Results show that both soil and must microbiota distinguish wine-growing regions. We found a relationship between microbial and wine metabolic profiles under different environmental conditions, in particular measures of soil properties and weather. Fungal communities are associated with wine regional distinctiveness. We found that the soil microbiome is a source of grape-and must-associated fungi and suggest that weather and soil could influence wine characteristics via the soil fungal community. Our report describes a comprehensive scenario of wine microbial biogeography where microbial diversity responds to the surrounding environment and correlates with wine composition and regional characteristics. These findings provide perspectives for thoughtful human practices to optimize food composition through understanding fungal activity and abundance. IMPORTANCE The composition of soil has long been thought to provide wine with characteristic regional flavors. Here, we show that for vineyards in southern Australia, the soil fungal communities are of primary importance for the aromas found in wines. We propose a mechanism by which fungi can move from the soil through the vine.
Liu, D., Chen, Q., Zhang, P., Chen, D., & Howell, K. (2020). The fungal microbiome is an important component of vineyard ecosystems and correlates with regional distinctiveness of wine. mSphere, 5 (4) https://doi.org/10.1128/MSPHERE.00534-20