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Wine fermentation

Wine fermentation

Four dead in Italy as gas from wine fermentation overwhelmed them

Four Italian men between the ages of 40 and 70 perished while producing wine from their family vineyard over the weekend, according to Italian firefighters.

The men, Santino and Massimo Carnevale, aged 70 and 45, and brothers Giacomo and Valerio Scofano, aged 70 and 50, were all related and took part in an annual wine tradition near the town of Paola in southern Calabria. One of the victims, Valerio Scofano, was not supposed to be in the hangar, having been sentenced to house arrest in his house several miles away for harassing a former lover.

They were found on the floor of a small shed where they were fermenting grapes without adequate ventilation. Local prosecutor Pierpaolo Bruni said an investigation into the deaths would be opened, but the room was “not sufficiently ventilated” for the high level of carbon dioxide produced by the fermentation process.

Roberto Perrotta, the mayor of Paola, said the tragedy had caused “pain to the whole community”, according to local media.

When first responders arrived, family members who were already at the scene briefly erupted into a scuffle with local reporters who had been following the emergency vehicles, possibly to protect the identity of the victim of the l house arrest that shouldn’t have been there.

Police speculate that one of the older men first entered the shed to stir the fermenting grape vat as they prepared to transfer the liquid to vats when it was overrun by fumes. The second older man then likely entered to save him, but was also defeated. The two younger men and a woman who is said to be the stepdaughter of one of the men also followed. The woman passed out near the entrance and was resuscitated and is recovering at a local hospital.

The authorities do not suspect a criminal act.


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Wine fermentation

What is the impact of temperature on wine fermentation?

Dear Dr Vinny,

What is the impact of temperature on fermentation? Does colder or hotter fermentation result in a smoother wine? More acidic wine? Less alcohol?

—AJ, Los Angeles, California.

Dear AJ,

During fermentation – this magical process where the yeast converts the sugar in the grapes into alcohol – you have to take into account both the ambient temperature of the cellar and the residual heat which is a by-product of fermentation. Winemakers need to find Goldilocks’ sweet spot for both, where it’s neither too hot nor too cold for their ideal fermentation.

Hot fermentation is rapid fermentation. When it gets too hot, the yeast may start to die off, the fruit aromas may start to taste baked or cooked, and the aromas may be lost. Hot cultures also facilitate the growth of unwanted microorganisms.

While it seems that cold fermentation is preferred, many winemakers would agree. Cooler ferments are believed to preserve fruit colors, aromas and flavors. But too cold and the yeast can go dormant or get “stuck”.

Some winemakers like to start with hotter ferments and then cool them down, or vice versa, using their experience with their grapes to get more color and texture, to give the yeasts what they want so they don’t struggle before. to have finished doing it. their important work. Wine growers can use tanks with built-in cooling systems, or even just use ice to regulate temperatures.

When it comes to alcohol content, keep in mind that it is directly related to the ripeness of the grapes (and how much sugar they contain) and how much of that sugar is converted into alcohol. While a stopped fermentation means that there is probably some residual sugar that can still turn into alcohol, the fermentation temperature is not the main determining factor in the alcohol equation, rather it is the maturity. Grapes.

-Dr. Vinny


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