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Dry Ice in Winemaking?

Two Engineers Learning the Science

Our winery is owned by two engineers (ICYMI read our backstory here) so it’s not surprising that we geek out over using dry ice in our winemaking.

It’s science in action!

After harvesting the grapes, we crush and press them to create must (unfermented grapes, with or without the crushed skins and seeds).

During fermentation, yeast cells feed on sugar in the must in order to grow and reproduce. A byproduct of this process is alcohol (desired), carbon dioxide (helpful), and heat (not desired).

Keeping it Cool

We want to keep the must relatively cool to retain its delicate flavors and aromatics. High temperatures can stress the yeast and stop fermentation. This is where dry ice in winemaking comes in!

We add dry ice to the must, where it cools the must and creates bubbles and that oh-so-cool mist. That’s because dry ice sublimates (goes straight from a solid to a gas) as it heats up from its frozen temperature of around -109°F. (Two videos show this on our IG feed here and here.)

Click pic for video
Click pic for video

The resulting carbon dioxide gas forms a protective layer on top of the must, keeping oxidation and spoilage organisms at bay.

And Enjoying the Journey

As you can see, using dry ice is currently a critical piece of our winemaking process. Plus, it’s fascinating to watch!  As we grow, we plan to utilize a glycol unit with cooling sleeves during fermentation, but for now we get to use dry ice…and just in time for Halloween!

Winemaking can be precise and deliberate as well as an art. From growing and harvesting the grapes to fermentation, aging, and bottling, our team takes great care and pride in developing only the best wines.

Try a bottle of our award-winning wines for yourself! Shop our Aphelion wines today.