In fact, many producers experiment with both styles of fermentation, blending the two together. Winemakers tell me that spontaneous fermentation tends to be slower, building a more character-ful (and sometimes flawed) wine. Inoculating with cultured yeast results in a quicker fermentation and a cleaner wine, albeit one that might not be so soulful.
3. Wild and cultured yeasts aren’t so different, actually. “All commercial yeasts were originally in a wine cellar and were collected and propagated from there,” points out Howard Mozeico. “So this whole conversation about ‘wild’ is sort of disingenuous.” In fact, Sarah Cabot at Omero Cellars makes her own “wild” yeast by harvesting yeast cells from the skins of grapes hanging in her vineyard, because “completely uncontrolled ferments in the Carlton Winemakers Studio (where up to 12 producers work side-by-side) make me incredibly nervous.”