Yeast, origins of

Dr Ronald Jackson (2008) asks where yeast come from? He says the indigenous “home” of the wine yeast appears to be oak exudate and the soil underneath oak trees. This, he says, ‘brings up an interesting coincidence. The most southerly distribution of oak trees in Europe corresponds to the two locations where grapes were first domesticated: the northern portions of the Near East (Transcaucasia) and southern Spain. The Transcaucasian region also has the oldest archeological evidence of wine production. Early farmers in the region also harvested acorns for both human and animal consumption. Did the juxtaposition of the beginnings of agriculture, grape domestication, and acorn collection favour the transfer of what was an “oak” yeast to grapes and its transformation into the “wine” yeast par excellence?


Dr Ronald Jackson, in Wine Report 2008 ed. Tom Stevenson (Dorling Kindersley, 2007), p.392.