The Danish ingredients supplier said the new strain was initially selected by Auckland University in New Zealand but was found to be unusable once dried.
Laurent Hubert, marketing director for wine, told BeverageDaily.com that Chr Hansen saw significant potential in the strain and therefore sought to find a new way to sell it.
The company came up with a “direct inoculation” system, whereby the yeast is sold not as a dry product that is then rehydrated on-site but frozen so it can be added directly to grape juice.
Chr Hansen claims that the new approach can save wine makers crucial minutes during a busy time in wine production. “The direct inoculation system is really appreciated in the winery when - at crush time - every minute won is a good thing for the team,” said Duncan Hamm, commercial oenologist, Chr Hansen.
Having been launched in New Zealand in December, Chr Hansen is presenting its new frozen yeast, called Viniflora FrootZen, for the first time in the US and France.
The new product is based on a Pichia kluyveri yeast strain naturally found in grape juice but not previously used in wine making.
Describing how FrootZen can improve wine, Hamm said it brings out the flavour precursors in grape juice more efficiently and boosts tropical fruit notes.
Hamm added: “It also increases the mouth-feel of the final wine and delivers long lasting fruit flavours, which increases the wine’s complexity in a very sustainable way.”
Chr Hansen said FrootZen is suitable for fresh white and rose wines and could be particularly interesting for white winemakers producing Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or Riesling.
Hubert said that following the launch in New Zealand, Chr Hansen was contacted by people outside the wine industry in brewing and in soft drinks who showed an interest in FrootZen because of its fruity flavours.
So the yeast could end up being used in other drink types and the “direct inoculation” system developed to make the product marketable could also be used elsewhere. Hubert said Chr Hansen is looking to transfer part of its yeast range from dry powder form to frozen.