Tel-Hai illustration


Wine is an alcoholic beverage produced through the partial or total fermentation of grapes.

The winemaking process can be divided into four distinct steps:

winemaking process

Wine has long played an important role in religion and culture.

Red wine was associated with blood by the ancient Egyptians and was used by both the Greek cult of Dionysus and the Romans in their Bacchanalia; Judaism also incorporates it in the Kiddush and Christianity in the Eucharist. In the modern society of today, wine drinking is associated with social events and as a symbol of celebration.

The purpose of our project is to improve upon the quality of wine and its nutritional values. Through the use of synthetic biology tools, we will add several new characteristics to the yeast S. cerevisiae, the main microorganism involved in wine production.

In our project we are focusing on wine improvement for the industry and for the consumers.

After talking with several Winemakers we came to an understanding that some of the most major problems that the wine industry is facing are bacterial and fungal infection and high alcohol concentrations. In order to try and solve those problems our first objective is to minimize the undesired presence of the yeast Brettanomyces bruxellensis (Brett), which is a cause of wine spoilage during its aging. We intend to pursue this objective by inserting a gene for a Brett-specific toxin into our "designer" yeast’s genome. our second objective is to direct the alcohol producing biochemistry pathway to the one of glycerol producing which reducing the level of alcohol in the wine.

The consumers on the other hand talked about several other wine improvements such as: lower glycemic index and the desire of improving the nutrition values for health benefits. First, We intend to accomplish this by introducing the Miraculin molecule which has zero glycemic index and acceptable for diabetics in flavor and sweetening formulations and has the ability to convert the sour taste to sweet taste. In addition, making the yeast produce Resveratrol, an antioxidative compound which is also produced by grapes. By using synthetic biology, the wine glass of tomorrow will contain more health-improving properties, less sugar and less alcohol, all without affecting the taste of wine. Furthermore, wine production processes will be improved.

Sponsored by

Tel Hai College
IDT - Integrated DNA Technologies
Israel Ministry of Science & Technology