If you want to successfully make wine, one of the most important parts is properly choosing the best wine yeast you can. Responsible for kickstarting fermentation and turning the sugary grape juice into alcoholic wine, getting the best yeast for homemade wine is crucial to achieving a high-quality result.
While wild yeast can be sufficient in some cases, most of the time you’ll want to go for the unbeatable reliability and power of cultured yeast.
There are hundreds of brands and specific types to choose from but today we’ll be looking at only the very best wine yeasts out of all – with a special focus on the best yeast for homemade wine, of course.
Let’s take a look!
These are the very best yeast you can get on the market. From highly versatile ones to others that focus on a specific type of wine, you can count on these to help you achieve a potent, top quality wine that ferments to completion.
|Yeast||Lalvin Dried Wine Yeast EC 1118||Lalvin ICV D-47 Wine Yeast||Lalvin Bourgovin RC 212 Wine Yeast||Lalvin Wine Yeast 71B 1122 Yeast||Premier Rouge Dried Wine Yeast||Red Star Premier Blanc Wine Yeast||Red Star Premier Cuvee Wine Yeast||Red Star Cote des Blancs Wine Yeast|
|Best For||All Wines||White Wine||Red Wine||White/Rosé||Red Wine||White Wine||All + Wood||White Wine|
|Availability||Shop Now||Shop Now||Shop Now||Shop Now||Shop Now||Shop Now||Shop Now||Shop Now|
These are some of the most excellent types of yeast you can use while making homemade wine. All tried and tested and highly respected in the community.
One of the most classic choices, Lalvin’s popular EC-1118 is an excellent yeast all around. From its astonishing versatility to the outstanding power and fermentation capability, it’s a truly great yeast strain that you can depend on regardless of which type of wine you want to make.
It’s rated at 18% alcohol resistance which is very, very powerful and ensures that it can complete the fermentation process of any wine – red, white and even sparkling – with ease.
Due to its power, it’ll give you a dry, potent wine as a result which I personally enjoy very much.
It results in a full bodied wine that’s rich in flavor and quite potent, making this an incredible yeast for producing quality white wines.
One of my all-time favorite yeasts for homemade red wine, Lalvin’s Bourgovin RC 212 is a master piece. Not only is its alcohol tolerance a nice 14% – giving you a fairly powerful result – but it also brings up a few delicious notes like natural fruitiness and spices plus it helps to give the wine a full body.
Excellent choice for red wines through and through.
It tolerates alcohol up to 14%, ensuring a potent wine, and it adds a selection of fruity aromas and flavors that pair well with the lighter colored wines.
Topping the alcohol percentage at 15% and delivering a complex, smooth blend of aromas and flavors that play beautifully well with red wine, this is a truly excellent choice to achieve a high quality red wine.
The white counterpart to the Premier Rouge seen above, Red Star’s Premier Blanc is a solid yeast if you want to achieve a potent, dry white wine that has very little residual sugar in it. It tolerates alcohol up to 16% and it’s a fast fermenter as well.
Another one of my all time favorites, Red Star’s Premier Cuvée is a must-have if you’re going to use wooden fermentors – especially if it’s made of oak. Like a match made in heaven, its neutral characteristics allows the oak’s complex flavors and aromas to flourish fully and freely, resulting in a top-notch wine.
It can be used for red, white or sparkling wine and it takes them all up to 16% of ABV, ensuring a powerful result. If you’re going to use wooden barrels, this is the one to get.
It pushes the alcohol percentage up to 14% as well and it’s an easy way to ensure a flavorful, high-quality white wine.
Now let’s take a look at which yeast of the ones above is best for a specific type of wine or situation. I’ll give a recommendation for the most often asked types of wine below:
Well, even though we’ve already seen all the top rated ones above, I can still offer some further guidance. I already highlighted my favorites in the table and any of those are in my opinion the best yeast for homemade wine.
For an all-purpose choice, go with the foolproof Lavlin EC-1118 as it cannot fail and always delivers a superb result. If you want to create a unique, complex and truly high-quality red wine at home then I’d go with the wonderful Red Star Premier Rouge. Finally, if you’re making anything from red to white or even sparkling but are going to use a wooden fermenter or storage, then you’ve gotta do yourself a favor and use the Red Star Premier Cuvée.
When it comes to choosing the best yeast for red wine, for me the answer is very simple: Red Star’s Premier Rouge, Lalvin Bourgovin RC 212 or the wonderful Red Star Premier Cuvée if you’re using wooden barrels.
Any of these are beyond excellent choices that will result in a truly top-notch wine in potency, flavor, aroma and color. Now let’s take a look at popular types of red wine and their specific recommendations:
The best yeast for Cabernet Sauvignon has to be the Red Star Premier Cuvée. As Cabernet Sauvignon is a heavier, more powerful wine, it needs a more potent yeast to ensure that it achieves the necessary body and level of alcohol – hence why the superb Premier Cuvée is the perfect fit.
This type of wine is on the lighter side so I’d recommend either Red Star’s Premier Rouge or Lalvin’s Bourgovin RC 212 as the very best yeast for Pinot Noir.
This one comes down to personal preference between sweeter or drier white wine. I’ll recommend the Red Star Premier Blanc as the best yeast for white wine if you want it to be powerful and dry while the Lalvin ICV D-47 is best for sweeter, fruitier results.
Making fruit wine is a little different and as such requires a more reliable, foolproof yeast to ensure that it ferments quickly and to completion, no matter what. There’s only one that can do this – the outstanding Lalvin Dried Wine Yeast EC-1118. It’s insanely powerful, quick to act and it absolutely ensures success, making it the best yeast for fruit wine out of all.
People often ask which yeast is best for the following type of wines:
For all of these and any other fruit, the answer is simple: it’s always the Lavlin EC-1118, as mentioned above.
If you want a super potent wine, the yeast needs to have a very high tolerance to alcohol. While anything that’s above 15% resistance is considered to be quite powerful, there’s one yeast that can reach even higher, all the way up to the limit of 18%. That yeast is the Lavlin EC-1118 and it’s the very best yeast for high alcohol, bar none.
No matter what fruit you use – grapes, blackberries or even bananas – it will ensure that you end up with a super powerful wine that’ll knock any other out in terms of sheer alcoholic content.
Nearly the opposite of the one we’ve just seen above, the best yeast for sweet wine has to have a lower alcohol resistance, ensuring that not all sugar is converted into alcohol in order to leave the wine more sugary and sweeter.
Due to this, I’d recommend the Lalvin Wine Yeast 71B 1122 or the Lalvin Bourgovin RC 212 as the best yeast for sweet wine, for white and red respectively.
And there you have it – the very best wine yeasts for wine of all types. These are all very high-quality options that will perform superbly and offer you truly excellent results, no matter what. I know how difficult it can be to find the best yeast for homemade wine when you’re just starting out so I truly hope this guide helped you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and as always, I’ll see you on the next one!