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Ventilation For Fermentation Room?


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#1 Myrwin

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 01:37 AM

I apologize in advance if this sounds like a really, really dumb question, but is there any potential danger of having a room without ventilation for fermenting wine? I'm starting a U-vin business and the ideal room for fermenting has no windows or air vents. Someone suggested that the fumes would knock me on my curse as soon as I walked through the door, and this sounds almost hysterical to me but... I really have no idea. The room, concrete block, is about 10 x 30 feet with an 8 ft. ceiling.
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#2 Joel

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 04:00 AM

Hmm... that's a good question.. I'd think that the smell would knock you on your butt because of how great it all smells.. smile.gif What kind of climate control will you have there? Will the air be cycling thru any filters? How many doors do you have, how often will they be open? You may get away with general airflow from doors opening, etc.. depending on how many wines you have fermenting all at the same time. If you had all 100 or so fermenting at the same time, then I think you may need ventilation.. Since they'll all be in different stages of fermenting and aging, I think you'd be ok.

Your customers may not get use to the smell, but then again, more reason for them to come to you then. Good luck, Joel
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#3 knotsorich

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 05:00 AM

If the room is finished off fairly tightly, you could be setting yourself and others up for Carbon Dioxide poisoning. While not as toxic as carbon monoxide, it can still poison you in higher concentrations. For a uvint operation, I think you would want some sort of air-exchange system set up. They aren't horribly expensive and could make it all a lot safer.

See the following link describing C02 exposure.
http://www.inspect-n...t/CO2gashaz.htm


#4 Howie

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 05:49 AM

A friend of mine used to own a winery. When he first started and was fermenting his first batches, he arrived one morning to open the place up. He opened the door and was almost overcome by CO2 before he could open the overhead door.
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#5 Merilyn

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 08:50 AM

QUOTE (Myrwin @ Jan 26 2009, 02:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I apologize in advance if this sounds like a really, really dumb question, but is there any potential danger of having a room without ventilation for fermenting wine?

This is definitely not a stupid question !! I also think you could be setting yourself and others up for Carbon Dioxide poisoning.
There was a time I lifted the lid on a pail of fermenting wine and took a sniff. I almost landed on my butt. The amount of carbon dioxide that is expelled during fermentation is surprising.

Good luck with your new business !!
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#6 Powelln

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 09:35 AM

Do a search for ventilation in the Equipment or Small Winery sections. I'm pretty sure Gregorio or somebody posted information on ventilation needs/requirements for wineries sometime during the last 3-6 months. Depending on the volumes you'll be dealing with, you will definitely need some kind of ventilation system.

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#7 Hammered

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 09:49 AM

Your best bet would be to measure the dimensions of your room(s) and take a rough sketch down to your local building department and ask them specific questions about this (and other concerns). The good part about asking them, is it is free. The International Mechanical Code will be pretty specific about what ventilation (CFM and air changes per hour) will be required and the controls necessary (including CO2 sensors). I once managed the construction of a gymnasium where we had to ventilate for CO2 just from people breathing!

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#8 Sanguine

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 09:58 AM

keep in mind too, CO2 is heavier than air, so, what good air is left in the room will be near the ceiling. Not much use for your flopping, oxygen starved body on the floor.
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#9 Tomer1

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 03:36 AM

It can be dangerous, If a few large batchs are going on primery ferm. in a closed room, CO2 can build up to hazardess levels.
When entering a closed room in that time kick the door in and walk away, went from minutes for the gas to release and then enter.
My grandfather was using a sealed bomb shelter in a shared building\block for winemaking. Once ,a naighber walked in during primery to sniff around and passed out, luckly he heard him coughing and dragged him out.
CO2 can kill, dont be light headed about it.

If I were into tatoos... I would tatoo some grapes on my forarm. :P


#10 S Hofner

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 06:15 AM

CO2 can kill, dont be light headed about it.

That almosts sounds like it should be on a poster some where. ;)
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#11 Wade's Wines

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 07:03 AM

If you have 50 gallons fermenting in the average kitchen, there's little danger, because houses are either ventilated or drafty. If you're fermenting in a small closed room like a bathroom, or especially if it's in an underground small cellar or basement, the danger increases.
About 2 or 3 years ago, a farm family in Ohio (if I remember right) were overcome in an open corn silage pit; chopped corn to be fed to cattle, fermenting in a pit dug in the ground. All 4 died on the spot. So I guess the carbon dioxide was heavy enough that it just settled in the pit, they couldn't smell or see it, went in working and that was that.
Co2 detectors are cheap and look just like the cheap smoke detectors. If you're worried, pick one up.
My house is fairly open. I've had maybe 60 gallons fermenting at once and never noticed a problem... but that family never noticed a problem either!
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#12 Crazy Run Ranch

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 08:39 AM

I think some of stories get a little blown up, but it still is a danger. But as pointed out, the CO2 settles or sits on top of your fermentations. Its mixes with O2 and deprives you of enough O2. This usually just causes you to cough and head for some fresh air. When I first started wine making, I installed a whole-house fan in my winery to pull in cool air at night. I found it also works well to evacuate CO2 during fermentation. I installed the switch near the door and just turn it on while leaving the door open. When doing punch downs, I open the door, hit the switch, go in and punch down, then turn it off on the way out. One thing to keep in mind with these fans is the required intake and exhaust area. They won't flow much without adequate amounts of both. The box the fans comes in specify the vent area needed.

#13 Tomer1

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 09:12 AM

There is also the question whether in "open fermentations" should the CO2 layer be evacuated or not.
Can anyone point out to a study about CO2 protection in winemaking?
I already read some articles about CO2 fermentation in closed tanks where each grape is fermented whole, I Never accually tasted a wine which was done this one. it is said that there is less release of volotile compounds this way.

If I were into tatoos... I would tatoo some grapes on my forarm. :P


#14 MinnesotaMaker

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 08:51 PM

CO2 wouldn't be your only concern. I'd think that a sealed room with lots of fermentation going on would be exposed to the release of lots of water vapor and humidity. Although not dangerous to people, it could cause problems with the structure itself. High moisture levels can encourage the growth of mold if it condenses somewhere and collects. I'd think some type of fresh air exchange would help reduce this risk.

#15 Tomer1

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 05:53 AM

I want to clearfy my last post, I didnt mean co2 evacuation as safty thing but as part of winemaking, protecting the wine from oxygen.

If I were into tatoos... I would tatoo some grapes on my forarm. :P





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