A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

A Toast to Wasps and Hornets

european-paper-wasp-080712If you enjoy fine wine and tasty beer, give a nod to wasps – it wouldn’t be possible without them.

Long before humankind learned how to conserve baker’s yeast and use it to make bread and, in Ancient Egypt, beer, hornets and paper wasps were gathering the yeast every year from grapes and other plants and storing it in their nests through the winter months. [readon]

Scientists in Italy and France have learned that European hornets and paper wasps keep the yeast in their guts – and in many different varieties. Those different varieties of yeast are then distributed to grapes in different regions, where they contribute to the subtle flavors of different wines.

Just another case of how every aspect of the ecosystem contributes to the whole and makes a better (and tastier) world for all of us.

The study can be found here.