Fungi and bacteria make wine possible — and now research shows that they’re what contribute to those “regional differences” you’re savoring in a particular variety.
Typically, people chalk up differing flavors and nuances in wine to the temperature or soil of an area. The E! True Hollywood story is that the middle step is BACTERIA. (Or “microbial communities,” if you want to get fancy about it.) That’s part of why climate change will affect wine — it’ll alter those microbial communities, potentially changing flavor. As wine expert Nicholas Bokulich told io9:
What we are really seeing here is that region, environmental conditions, and grape varieties shape the microbial communities of the grapes that make it into the fermentation process and shape wine quality.
So the same kinds of bacteria and fungi aren’t in all wine — you’re enjoying various types of them with your tofurkey or turducken dinner tomorrow. Explains io9:
Napa Chardonnay musts were loaded with the bacterial group Firmicutes and the fungal group Eurotiomycetes. By comparison, Sonoma Chardonnay musts contained high concentrations of the fungus Botryotinia fuckeliana and Proteobacteria.
Fun, right? So if you want to throw your weird Uncle Lester for a loop, just lean over and say, “That Proteobacteria has a great nose, doesn’t it?”