This study investigated the microbiota of sour rotten wine grapes and its impact on wine fermentations. Yeasts, lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and acetic acid bacteria (AAB) were enumerated and identified on sound and sour rot grapes during the ripening stage. The alteration of the ecological balance induced by sour rot was particularly evidenced by the unequivocal increase of yeast and AAB counts on rotten grapes, since the beginning of ripening. Yeast and AAB species diversity in rotten grape samples were much higher than those found in sound grapes. LAB populations were low detected from both healthy and sour rotten grapes. The yeast species Issatchenkia occidentalis, Zygoascus hellenicus and Zygosaccharomyces bailii and the AAB species Gluconacetobacter hansenii, Gluconacetobacter intermedius and Acetobacter malorum, were recovered from damaged grapes and resulting grape juices in the winery. Acetobacter orleaniensis and Acetobacter syzygii were only recovered from sour rotten grapes. Dekkera bruxellensis and Oenococcus oeni were only recovered after wine fermentation induced by starter inoculation, irrespective of grape health, probably originating from cellar environment. After malolactic fermentation, racking and sulphur dioxide addition the only remaining species were the yeast Trigonopsis cantarellii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, independently of the grape health status.
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