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The influence of oenological factors on cold-active pectinases from 15 preselected indigenous yeasts belonging to Aureobasidium pullulans, Filobasidium capsuligenum, Rhodotorula dairenensis, Cryptococcus saitoi and Saccharomyces cerevisiae was investigated. Pectinolytic enzymes were constitutive or partially constitutive; and high glucose concentration (200 g l−1) did not affect or increased pectinase production at 12°C and pH 3·5 (up to 113·9 U mg−1) only in A. pullulans strains. SO2 (120 mg l−1) slightly affected the growth of A. pullulans strains but did not affect pectinase production levels. Ethanol (15%) barely affected pectinase activity of A. pullulans strains but diminished relative activity to 12–79% of basidiomycetous yeasts. Moreover, non-Saccharomyces strains showed promising properties of oenological interest. This study demonstrates that cold-active pectinases from some A. pullulans strains were able to remain active at glucose, ethanol and SO2 concentrations usually found in vinification, and suggests their potential use as processing aids for low-temperature winemaking.