Using Dry Ice as inert gas

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RylanJacobs

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Has anyone ever used dry ice to prevent oxidation during wine storage and early fermentation?

It may sound odd, but there is precedent for this. The winemaker at Seavey vineyard in Napa (Jim Duane) uses dry ice to purge tanks prior to adding Cab Sav. He does native fermentations only, and those can take several days to start. By adding the dry ice, he mitigates the risk of oxidation prior to fermentation. A Seavey cabernet typically sells for $125.....so they obviously do something right.

I checked WinemakerMag and found this interesting statement - "I like to float dry ice pellets in a pie tin on top of my half-ton bins of must for an effective and simple CO2 blanket to help ward off bacterial infection during a cold soak."

A grocery store in my area sells dry ice by the pound. This could possibly be a cost effective way of using inert gas to purge carboys, bottles, etc. without needing large tanks of Argon or CO2.

Curious to know others thoughts.
 
I've done this after fermentation when I couldn't press out for several days... picture here. I was mainly concerned with warding off fruit flies, but protecting the must against infection makes sense too. I haven't done it for extended maceration/cold soak prior to ferment but I think the idea is sound.
 
For the size containers we use I think just using co2 cartridges' will be a lot more cost effective. I do realize why to use the co2, I just question the sourcing of dry ice and how to store any amount not used

I have a small (5 pound) co2 bottle from when I had a beer tap system at the house, I just use that to chase out oxygen as I do not need to fill it very much and there are welding supply shops in most decent size towns. Using a exchange program, they own the tank, you just rent it for a small fee up front, they make sure any tank you exchange is tested and certified, it is quick to exchange, winner winner chicken dinner
 
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I like this idea because it appears to solve one of my purging concerns. If we just use a CO2 bottle or similar, we are only purging while the valve is open and being purged. After we are done, the diffused oxygen still remains, though small. Dry ice, on the other hand, may take hours to sublime during which a lot (maybe all) of the diffused gas will be purged. I think about this as a burst of CO2 versus a slow, continuous purge. Just thinkin.
 
I have used dry ice pre fermentation in macro bins as well as 30 and 50 gallon cans. It keeps the temperature of the must down and provides a nice layer of gas. We find that you need to replenish the ice in the container twice a day.

As for storing it, it vaporizes rapidly and I find that even a good ice chest inside another ice chest doesn’t allow it to be stored for more than a day. So you do have to replenish your supply if you want to hold things for multiple days.
 
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