15 Best Wine Yeasts For Wine Making In 2021: Reviews & Buying Guide

Reviews Wine

Group of Wine Yeasts in Packets 

When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. For more information on how we conduct reviews, click here.

One of the most critical ingredients in winemaking is yeast, and you can’t risk messing up your batch because of it. There are different types of yeast for various wines that extend to mead and cider. We’ve compiled a list of the best wine yeasts for wine making to help you out.

Our Top Picks

ed Star Premier Blanc Champagne Yeast
Mobile Button

Most Versatile - Red Star Premier Blanc Champagne Yeast 

• Best for restarting stuck fermentations
• 50 - 95°F fermentation temperature range
• Up to 18% alcohol tolerance

Best for Light Wines - Red Star Côte des Blancs Wine Yeast

• Produces low alcohol
• 54 - 75°F fermentation temperature range
• Up to 14% alcohol tolerance

Best for Grapes & Other Fruit Wines - Lalvin K1V-1116 Wine Yeast 

• Excellent for fruit and floral wines
• 50 - 95°F fermentation temperature range
• Up to 18% alcohol tolerance

1. Lalvin 71B Wine Yeast - Best for Sweet Wines

 Lalvin 71B Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Ideal for whites, reds, nouveau, and roses
  • Helps in malolactic fermentation
  • 59 - 86°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 14% alcohol tolerance
  • Short lag phase
  • Some packets contain dead yeast

What Customers Have To Say

An Amazon customer made about 15 batches of fruit wine and cider with this yeast, and he could not be happier. It flocculates cleanly and leaves a reasonably solid trub at the bottom. 

Another customer said that this yeast is awesome for dark fruity wines. It performs well even without energizers or pitching. She just throws it in the cold juice with the sugar, shakes it all up, and it gets busy. About three weeks later, she already has alcoholic goodness to enjoy. 

Why We Think It’s Great

This dried active yeast is a fast starter that constantly and thoroughly ferments, allowing the wine’s fruity and fresh aromas to stand out. This is due to its ability to metabolize malic acid that eventually softens the wine’s flavor profile. The wine it produces tends to mature quickly because it doesn't get many phenols from the must. 

Who Should Buy It

This wine yeast for wine making is for those who make blush, semi-sweet, or late harvest wines. It is best known for releasing the fruit complexities of the drink as well as the ester aromas.

2. Red Star Premier Classique Wine Yeast - Best for Colored Wines Red Star Premier Classique Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Preserves tannins and color
  • 59- 95°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 15% alcohol tolerance
  • Quick-starting fermentation
  • All-purpose
  • Not for making quick batches of wine

What Customers Have To Say

One customer shared that her husband creates wine, which is his go-to brand for any type he makes. So far, every kind of yeast he has purchased from Red Star has a better taste than expensive or store-bought wines. 

Another shopper stated that this wine yeast can handle higher brewing temperatures and allows for as much as 15% alcohol to be produced before ceasing. He uses it to make hard apple cider, apple raisin wine, and some cranberry pomegranate wine.

Why We Think It’s Great

Red Star Premier Classique is formerly known as Montrachet and is best used for red and white wines. This active dry yeast produces hydrogen sulfide gas when there are excess sulfur compounds. With this, it is not recommended for fermenting grapes with residual sulfur dust. On the other hand, it makes a great dark color and flavor complexities and retains tannin content. 

Who Should Buy It

This yeast may be quick to start, but it actually ferments slowly, which is suitable for making the wine hold on to more delicate flavors and aromas. This is also excellent for fermenting in oak barrels. 

3. Lalvin QA23 Wine Yeast - Best for Whites

 Lalvin QA23 Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Gives focus to fruit elements
  • Low foaming
  • 59 - 90°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 16% alcohol tolerance
  • Settle quickly
  • Does not provide structure to wine

What Customers Have To Say

An Amazon shopper has used this wine yeast for some time. It delivers enhanced aromas and requires only low nutrients. She’s also glad that every packet is good for 25 months, especially since she doesn’t make much wine. 

Another customer said that this is one of the best wine yeasts for wine making she has ever used. And as time goes on, she loves it more because she can hit basic wine almost every time at 18-19 ABV.

Why We Think It’s Great

This dry yeast settles fast, so it becomes clear quite quickly and ferments low-nutrient juice. It is recommended for producing fruity and fresh white wines and does an excellent job at accentuating the fruit, may it be as a standalone or part of a blend. 

Who Should Buy It

If you are a fan of whites and would love to make your signature wine, this is the best wine yeast you could get. 

4. Red Star Premier Cuvee Wine Yeast - Best for Sparkling Wines

Red Star Premier Cuvee Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Starts fast
  • Clean and neutral
  • 46 - 95°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 18% alcohol tolerance
  • It can be used for oak barrel fermentation
  • Doesn’t stay active for a long time

What Customers Have To Say

An Amazon patron commented that this wine yeast is fast and great for carbonating. As for refined wine crafters, the yeast does not stay active long enough to convert all sugar and produce maximum flavor. But it is an excellent carbonating yeast that creates a fizzy medium alcohol beverage in about 6-8 days. 

Another shopper remarked that this is his new favorite white wine yeast. It tends to slow down a bit quicker than other brands towards the end of fermentation, but it makes up for the time by vigorously fermenting early on.

Why We Think It’s Great

Premier Cuvee is also known as Prise de Mousse, a French term that means “capturing the froth'', which is essentially the effervescence created during the second fermentation. This is why this yeast is particularly great for sparkling wines. It is among the fastest, neutral, and most consistent fermentation processes.

Who Should Buy It

If you’re looking for a wine yeast for wine making that is good for reds, whites, restarting stuck fermentation, and sparkling wine, look no further!

5. Lalvin Wine Yeast BM 4x4 - Best for Difficult Conditions

 Lalvin Wine Yeast BM 4x4

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Enhances qualities of red and white wines
  • Facilitates malolactic fermentation
  • 61 - 82°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 16% alcohol tolerance
  • Improves color stability
  • Some reports of having a sulfur smell

What Customers Have To Say

According to one customer, this wine yeast works wonderfully on all his fruit wines, and it is exceptional on mead. It produces a full-bodied fruit wine and has worked super from white to red. He described his mead as a highly prized Elixir. 

Another shopper said that this yeast works well for most medium to full-bodied red wines. She will continue to use it as her primary yeast for such wines.

Why We Think It’s Great

Perhaps the best characteristic of this blend of yeast strains is its ability to release a sufficient amount of polyphenol-reactive polysaccharides in the fermenting must. This facilitates red wine production and creates a fantastic mouthfeel with hints of tobacco, jam, leather, and cedar. For white wine, it increases the fruit aromas.

Who Should Buy It

If you are a beginner in winemaking, you can purchase the best wine making kits and use this wine yeast for either red or white wines.

6. Mangrove Jack's CY17 Wine Yeast - Best for Sweet Dessert Wines

Mangrove Jack's CY17 Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Encourages strong floral aromas
  • Promotes body and structure to the wine
  • 61 - 75°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 14% alcohol tolerance
  • Slow fermenting for more desirable characteristics
  • Delicate strain to use

What Customers Have To Say

A customer used this to make an apple wine which turned out excellent. She still needed to back sweeten it because she wanted a dessert wine. The good thing about this wine yeast is that the must clears wonderfully on its own and is also great for making meads

A different customer used this for apricot wine, and the flavor of the apricots really came through. He will try it with other fruit wines in the future.

Why We Think It’s Great

You can make wines with an extra burst of aroma, especially floral and fruity ones, with the CY17 yeast. It produces many congeners and aromatic thiols during fermentation, resulting in full-bodied tropical notes. It also forms high glycerol, enhancing sweetness. 

Who Should Buy It

Are you a fan of Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, or dessert wines? If you don’t have access to it because of the pandemic, you can make your own at home. The CY17 is the best wine yeast for wine making for this particular purpose.

7. Red Star Premier Rouge Wine Yeast - Best for Reds

 Red Star Premier Rouge Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Rarely causes stuck fermentation
  • Promotes robust flavors
  • 63 - 86°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 15% alcohol tolerance
  • Moderate fermentation speed
  • May cause a rotten egg smell
  • Some reports of dead yeast

What Customers Have To Say

It was ridiculously easy for one customer to produce his first bottle of wine. He used a full package of the wine yeast and a cup of sugar and added it to a 96-ounce bottle of Welch's Concord grape juice. And 29 days later, it was ready to drink. 

Another customer commented that this yeast is excellent for home brewing. Whether you use it with grape juice or home crushed wine grapes, you will not be disappointed by the results.

Why We Think It’s Great

Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel - these are among the top red wines enjoyed by many and can be made using this particular yeast. It is a strong fermenter that is ideal for full-bodied red wines because it can tolerate heat and sulfur oxide. This wine yeast for wine making also provides the complex and strong aromas that red wines have.

Who Should Buy It

If you are among the people who can't get enough red wine, this is the best wine yeast for wine making for you. Besides reds, you can also use it to make country wines that feature dark fruits like elderberries, blackberries, and plums.

8. Lalvin K1V-1116 Wine Yeast - Best for Grapes & Other Fruit Wines

Lalvin KIV-1116 Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Excellent for fruit and floral wines
  • 50 - 95°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 18% alcohol tolerance
  • Neutral effect on varietal characters
  • Reports of dead yeast

What Customers Have To Say

One customer got 30 lbs. of fresh blueberries and everything else. This yeast worked great and was super inexpensive. He suggested getting warm water, putting the package in, and letting it sit for a little bit. All his wine came out perfectly. 

Another shopper said that this stuff is amazing. He had a strong start with his dandelion wine in less than 24 hours. He feels you can't go wrong with this yeast, but just make sure to give enough headroom and not overfill your airlock.

Why We Think It’s Great

Whether it’s red or white, this competitive and rigorous yeast can do the job well. It produces wine styles with the likes of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. If there are nutrients in the must, then the yeast will produce floral esters. This is also great for late harvest wines and for restarting stuck fermentation.

Who Should Buy It

If you are having difficulty fermenting fruit juice because the must is cooler or lacks fatty acids and nutrients, this wine yeast for wine making will come to your rescue.

9. Red Star Sampler Pack Wine Yeast - Best Variety Pack

Red Star Sampler Pack Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Perfect for making various fermentation batches
  • Great for experimenting with yeast strains
  • A bit pricey

What Customers Have To Say

According to a customer, Red star is a good yeast company for winemaking, and he never had any issues with them. He loves buying this set because he gets one of every strain for grape wine, fruit wine, and meads. 

Another shopper said that each strain is unique, and it's fun experimenting and finding out which works best with your brew.

Why We Think It’s Great

Red Star is one of the most well-known and trusted brands of wine yeast for wine making. If you are new to fermentation processes, this product is a good way to start. You can have this fantastic sampler pack that includes a variety of Red Star yeasts: Premier Blanc, Premier Rouge, Premier Classique, Premier Cuvee, and Cote des Blancs.

Who Should Buy It

Whether you’re trying to experiment with different wine types or fermenting various kinds all at once, this product is the one you need.

10. Lalvin Bourgovin RC-212 Wine Yeast - Best for Adding Spice

Lalvin Bourgovin RC-212 Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • GMO and gluten-free
  • Low-foaming
  • 68 - 86°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 16% alcohol tolerance
  • Moderate speed fermentation
  • Some reports of shipping problem

What Customers Have To Say

One customer said that this worked great for her instant pot wine. Based on her limited research, Lalvin seems to be the top brand for winemaking, which did not disappoint. 

Another shopper stated that this yeast started slow but got the job done. He has used it in a grape wine made from unknown backyard grapes and a blackberry melomel. The wines need more time to age, but he has not noticed any off-flavors.

Why We Think It’s Great

This yeast strain is sourced from the Burgundy region and was selected by Bureau, interprofessionnel des vins de Bourgogne. It’s best reserved for heavier style red wines as it retains a deep color during fermentation. It also creates aromas of berries and fruits complemented with spicy notes.

Who Should Buy It

As mentioned, this strain is best for heavy red wines but is also suitable for lighter reds.

11. Red Star Côte des Blancs Wine Yeast - Best for Light Wines

Red Star Cote des Blancs Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Excellent choice for fruit wines
  • Produces low alcohol
  • 54 - 75°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 14% alcohol tolerance
  • Needs close temperature monitoring

What Customers Have To Say

One Amazon customer said he likes this yeast for winemaking because it works well for homemade muscadine wine. It gives a higher alcohol content and makes a sharper wine than champagne yeast. A different customer used this yeast for making hard cider. It doesn't finish as dry as Champagne yeast and tends to leave some of the fruity flavors behind.

Why We Think It’s Great

Also known as Geisenheim Epernay, this wine yeast for wine making is mainly used for lighter alcohols. It also creates the optimal amount of aromatic expressions that elevate the drink. It is a slow fermenter, which creates less foam, works in lower temperatures, and leaves excess sugars in the wine to make it sweeter.

Who Should Buy It

This is the best wine yeast for wine making for Riesling, Chardonnay, cider, mead, and other non-grape fruit wines like plum and apple. If these are your preferences, try this one out.


12. CellarScience EC-1118 Wine Yeast - Best for Big Batches

CellarScience EC-1118 Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Bigger pack compared to sachets
  • Neutral flavor and aromas
  • Up to 18% alcohol tolerance
  • Chances of becoming dead if stored improperly

What Customers Have To Say

Amazon customers said that this is a very good wine yeast, especially for fruity wines.

Why We Think It’s Great

The CellarScience EC-1118 is known for being a strong fermenter that usually doesn't create many problems during winemaking. It is suitable for any wine that doesn’t need a strong yeast flavor. Because it is larger than packets, it is recommended to keep it refrigerated and use it within six months.

Who Should Buy It

As per instruction, you only need to use one gram of this yeast for every gallon. So if you’re planning to make a large batch of your favorite wine, this is the one to use.

13. Lalvin ICV-D47 Wine Yeast - Best for Floral Notes

Lalvin ICV-D47 Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Creates silky texture and smooth mouthfeel
  • Low foam formation
  • 59 - 82°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 14% alcohol tolerance
  • Moderate fermentation rate
  • Needs close monitoring

What Customers Have To Say

According to a shopper, this is a good quality yeast for making cider. The fermentation process leaves a fruity flavor and a pinch of sweetness, which he’s looking for in a fresh cider. Another customer ordered this yeast to use with white wine. It activated quickly and provided a smooth flavor.

Why We Think It’s Great

Lalvin D47 is developed from grapes grown in the Côtes-du-Rhône region of France. It is known for creating full-bodied white wines such as the likes of Chardonnay. You’ll also enjoy the complex characters with hints of tropical and citrus fruits. Its ability to extend the aging of lees results in an outstanding level of spicy and ripe flavor.

Who Should Buy It

This is the best wine yeast for producing white wines with a rounder flavor profile that is soft on the palate.

14. Red Star Premier Blanc Champagne Yeast - Most Versatile

 Red Star Premier Blanc Champagne Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Best for restarting stuck fermentations
  • Sulfite-tolerant
  • 50 - 95°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 18% alcohol tolerance
  • Neutral flavor profile
  • Doesn’t activate sometimes

What Customers Have To Say

A customer has used this yeast for years for making fruit wines with higher alcohol content. If she has a stuck fermentation, this has always done the trick of getting it going again. Another shopper used this for homemade red wine. It worked better than all the other yeast he has tried. 

Why We Think It’s Great

Previously referred to as Paster Champagne or simply Champagne yeast, this one can be used in various drinks such as Cabernet, mead, cider, fruit wine, port, dry whites, and even soda. Its strength and ethanol tolerance can readily ferment musts and fruit juices to achieve dryness. However, note that it can only be used for sparkling wines made using traditional or Charmat methods despite its name.

Who Should Buy It

If you haven’t decided what type of alcohol you want to make, this yeast is an excellent choice because it will practically work in many different applications.

15. Lalvin EC-1118 Wine Yeast - Best Neutral

Lalvin EC-1118 Wine Yeast

check price button
 Pros Cons
  • Doesn’t need grape nutrients
  • Consistent strong fermentation
  • 45 - 95°F fermentation temperature range
  • Up to 10% alcohol tolerance
  • Produces low foam
  • Some reports of dead yeast

What Customers Have To Say

One Amazon customer pitched three different packs, and they are all doing very well in their carboys. Excellent for mead and most wines, the yeast remained active and fresh. 

Another shopper uses this yeast as his main go-to for mead-making, and it is a stand-out performer. It’s alcohol tolerant, so it’s excellent for a very dry or somewhat boozier mead.

Why We Think It’s Great

Also known as Prise de Mousse, this yeast is vigorous, fast-fermenting, and a fantastic choice when making reds, whites, cider, and sparkling wines. It can inhibit wild yeasts because it is neutral and only slightly affects the grapes’ varietal character. It also works in challenging conditions such as lack of nutrients.

Who Should Buy It

If you often experience adverse conditions when fermenting, give this yeast a try and see if it solves the problem. 

Best Wine Yeast for Wine Making Buying Guide

Here are the factors that you need to consider before buying the best wine yeast for wine making: 

  • Alcohol Tolerance

Pick a packet of wine yeast that can tolerate high levels of alcohol. The maximum alcohol level of wine yeast varies. Some wine yeast can tolerate up to 18% ABV. If you choose low alcohol-tolerant yeasts, your fermentation might fail, and you won’t have any choice but to dispose of your batch.

  • Flavor Profiles

Yeasts produce tiny amounts of volatile compounds like aldehydes, esters, and sulfur, and all of these can affect your wine’s aroma and flavor. Some wine yeasts may produce rich and earthy flavors, while others may produce fresh and crisp tastes. Know your wine expectations first before you pick out a wine yeast.

  • Nutrient Requirements

Nutrients are essential for successful fermentation. Grape berries usually have all the necessary nutrients, but there may be cases where supplementation is needed, such as nitrogen, some vitamins, and certain minerals. Some yeasts can also work well even when there is a lack of nutrients.

  • Wine Yeast Attenuation

This factor is vital since it is responsible for the sweetness of your wine. Wine yeast attenuation refers to the ability of wine yeast to ferment the sugars. A high attenuation yeast can ferment wine to complete dryness. If you want sweetness in your wine, go for a low attenuation yeast.

  • Flocculation

Flocculation is what you call the yeast’s ability to turn into a clumped texture, making it easier to separate yeast cells from your wine after fermentation. Sedimentation shouldn’t take long, or you will lose a large part of your wine because of the formed yeast at the bottom of the fermenter.


Wine Yeast for Wine Making FAQ

1. What’s the difference between wine yeast and bread-making yeast?

Some people may be familiar with yeast, but they don’t know that there are different yeast types according to their purpose. 

Some are used for cooking, baking, and brewing. If you are wondering if you could use baking yeast as an alternative for wine yeast, the answer is np. Here are the key differences: 

  • During fermentation, wine yeast clears faster than bread yeast. It also forms lesser foam.
  • Wine yeast can increase your brew’s alcohol level, making it ideal for winemaking.
  • Wine yeast’s alcohol tolerance can reach up to 18%, significantly higher than 8% in bread yeast.
  • Wine yeast is packed under sterile conditions, while bread yeast is packaged under food-grade conditions. 

2. Why is yeast needed in making wine?

Before the must becomes wine, it needs to go through a process called alcoholic fermentation. During this process, the yeast is responsible for the consumption of sugar and the production of carbon dioxide and alcohol.

3. How can you tell if your wine is fermenting?

You can quickly tell if your wine has started fermenting just by looking at it. For starters, observe your wine and look for bubbles forming. If you see tiny bubbles rising from the bottom, then your wine has successfully started to ferment. 

Furthermore, your wine is actively fermenting when you hear fizzy noises and pieces of fruit are being thrown. Using a hydrometer to determine if your wine is still fermenting is recommended if it is near completion.

4. How long is wine yeast good for?

The best way to store your packets of wine yeast to extend their shelf life is by putting them inside your fridge. If you do this, the wine yeast is good to use for the next two years. If you store your wine yeast at room temperature, you can use it for at least a year. Remember not to keep your wine yeast in a place with a temperature that’s above 80°F.

5. What should I do if my wine fermentation is not bubbling?

Wine yeast is sensitive to temperature, which is primarily why it won’t bubble in some cases. Your fermentation temperature should be between 68 - 86°F for reds and 59°F or below for whites. 

If it doesn’t reach within this range, you can still save your wine by heating it. You can either transfer it to a warmer location or heat the wine fermenter.

Conclusion

Making wine with yeast is more labor-intensive than simply grabbing a bottle from the nearest store. However, the process is much more rewarding and makes you appreciate this precious drink even more.

We highly recommend the Red Star Premier Blanc Champagne Yeast as it applies to a wide variety of wines. Meanwhile, the Red Star Côte des Blancs Wine Yeast is ideal to use if you can’t tolerate higher alcohol levels. Finally, the Lalvin K1V-1116 Wine Yeast is best used if you’re craving fruit wines.

Do you know other wine yeasts for wine making that should be on our list? Let us know in the comments.


Older Post Newer Post


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published