Anchor Yeast was the first company and wine yeast brand in the world to commercialize laboratory bred hybrid wine yeast strains. The first hybrid that was created by the Department of Microbiology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa is called VIN 13 and it is a cross between Saccharomyces cerevisiae subspecie cerevisiae and Saccharomyces cerevisiae subspecie bayanus (intra-specie hybrid). S. cerevisiae subsp. bayanus is commonly referred to by winemakers as “bayanus yeasts” or “PDM.” VIN 13 was commercialized by Anchor Yeast in 1991 and is a yeast with exceptional qualities.
It is a high thiol, high ester producer, with a very good cold tolerance and alcohol tolerance. Winemakers often joke that it will “ferment your hand” if you put it in the tank. The overwhelming success with this strain existing to this day paved the way for the commercialization of five more intra-specie hybrids, each of them fitting the profile of very suitable for the production of New World style wines / Technological winemaking. Four of these hybrids (NT 202, NT 50, NT 116, NT 112) were created by the ARC- Infruitec-Nietvoorbij in Stellenbosch, South Africa and one (VIN 2000) by the Institute for Wine Biotechnology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Yeast can procreate in two ways: sexually and asexually. Under winemaking conditions yeast will always procreate asexually due to the Crabtree effect. In nature however, under conditions of nutrient starvation, yeasts can procreate sexually as to ensure the survival of the species by promoting genetic diversity. Hybridization is an essential part of this sexual reproduction cycle. Sexual reproduction can be induced in a laboratory and new yeast hybrids from different parental strains can be obtained, as is often the case in nature. The process is completely non-GMO.
The Anchor hybrids all exhibit the strong fermentation capabilities of the “bayanus” parents as well as the very good aromatic traits of the “cerevisiae” parents. They can be applied for cold fermentation, the production of very aromatic wines and the fermentation of high sugar musts – winemaking conditions usually associated with New World winemaking, hence the positioning of the Anchor brand: The world’s leading New World wine yeast brand.