Tragic Story -- Adequate Ventilation Fermenting Large Batches

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cmason1957

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Wow, I wonder how much they were fermenting in how small an area. Probably with just the door as incoming air.

I know when I went on a tour of one of the largest wineries in Missouri (Les Bourgeois Vineyards) They pointed out and were quite proud of the BIg Ass Fan (that's a trademarked name) in the fermentation area, I bet it was 6 or 8 feet diameter and could really move some air around.
 

jswordy

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Wow, I wonder how much they were fermenting in how small an area. Probably with just the door as incoming air.

I know when I went on a tour of one of the largest wineries in Missouri (Les Bourgeois Vineyards) They pointed out and were quite proud of the BIg Ass Fan (that's a trademarked name) in the fermentation area, I bet it was 6 or 8 feet diameter and could really move some air around.
Sure is! Good fans, too.

 

cmason1957

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Sure is! Good fans, too.

Looking at that URL, it probably was even bigger than what I thought. We are dealing with two things 1) my memory (and other than big and the name). 2) standing on the ground looking up probably three stories to guess how big something is. But I see they go 8 - 24 feet in diameter.
 

NorCal

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Sad story. I was fermenting two tons; 4 full macrobins of Cabernet Sauvignon in my 3 car garage. I entered the side door to do the morning punch down and realized before getting too far in that we had a problem. I opened the garage doors and let it air out. At that point, I knew I could never do that much wine in that amount of space again. I could see that if I ignored the perceived issue, that it could have been tragic. I also let 4Score know that he had to go buy his own equipment, as our combined scale was too much for me to manage in my garage.
 

BernardSmith

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Sad, indeed. Half the weight of the sugar in the grapes is converted to CO2 and even if you are only making a few barrels of wine that ain't chicken feed.
 

franc1969

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There's a reason much home winemaking in italy is done on the terace or portico. Ventilation is key, so sorry for this family.
 

winemaker81

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There is a scene in this movie about CO2 and its danger.


It occurred to me that while the amount I make (<600 lbs) is probably not dangerous for an adult, it might be to children and small animals who are much lower to the ground. I advocate ventilation (e.g., fan) when opening the K-meta jug -- but it makes sense to use ventilation whenever working with an active or post-fermentation wine. We can't see the CO2, so it's smarter (and safer) to assume it's there and address it.
 

Wayne Freeman

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There's a reason much home winemaking in italy is done on the terace or portico. Ventilation is key, so sorry for this family.
Also, the cantina is often a ground-level, garage-like room with a lockable barred gate across the entire opening, offering full ventilation. You can walk along those streets and easily see inside, with all of the wine-making equipment visible, and in October the aroma is heavenly.
 

ratflinger

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Just like when people go into a vat to clean it out and are overcome. CO2 is heavier than air and displaces it quickly
 

winemanden

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That was why they used to keep a candle burning in the old wine cellars.

Having seen a miner carried out on a stretcher at the Colliery where I worked as a young man, it made me feel very sad to read this. That was reason I joined the rescue team at the laboratory where I last worked. We used a lot of Argon, Nitrogen, and Chlorine, all deadly stuff.
 

JohnT

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CO2 is heavier than air. Most of the time, when deaths occur, a worker will pass out from the CO2, and then is laying on the floor where the CO2 concentration is even higher.

There are times, during punch down, that I had felt sweaty and also dizzy. Since then, I make it a point to first open up the winery and turn on a bos fan for 10 minutes. I also use a buddy system and never punch down alone.
 
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