Ice, Ice, Baby!
Welcome back to the Cellar, where this Friday finds us midstream in another part of our ‘weekly wine maintenance’ program. What is this mysterious – and very localized – cloud we’re looking at today? It isn’t a fog machine in the cellar – much though Kelby and Meagz may want that for their awesome singing and air guitar solos. Nor is it an early rehearsal of our Halloween rendition of the Three Witches from Macbeth (eye of Newt, indeed).
It’s dry ice! And while it is a very different process, the Dry Ice helps serve a similar protective purpose as the lees stirring Meagz was undertaking last week. Particularly for wines that are in a stainless steel tank – i.e. not a barrel that can be topped right to the brim – there is usually some amount of headspace that we have to make sure is flushed of oxygen and the spoilage organisms that need O2 to survive. At Red Newt, that means a weekly ‘topping’ of Dry Ice. As the ice sublimates into the gaseous form of CO2, it expels the lighter O2 gas from the headspace. Seal the tank up a few minutes later and, viola! A happy and protected wine.