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View Full Version : Top Aussie Wine Maker killed in blast



camduncan
01-17-2008, 02:04
Sadly today, Australia lost one of its great wine makers in a seemingly sensless accident.

To quote the story on www.news.com.au -

"TREVOR Drayton, a senior member of a renowned winemaking family, was one of two people killed in a massive explosion that blew the roof off a Hunter Valley winery this morning.
Mr Drayton was working at the family-owned Drayton's Winery on Oakey Creek Road, Pokolbin about 8.30am (AEDT) when ethanol fumes were reportedly ignited by a spark from a welder. "

The full story can be found here:
(I don't know how long the link will stay valid)

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23065647-2,00.html

Jono
01-25-2008, 16:23
How could this happen? Why would ethanol be found in such high concentrations? After reviewing a site on winemaking I found that headspace above the fermenting grape juice will be saturated with both water and ethanol vapor plus large amounts of CO2. From a table in the book...online...the water vapor component is always higher than the ethanol.
I guess I am surprised it would be so explosive...especially with water and CO2 present.

spun_cookie
01-25-2008, 19:46
It is not difficult to gather large amounts of alcohol in an environment that is making it if the air exchange is not appropriate… those little yeast buggers can produce a lot.

ILLfarmboy
01-25-2008, 20:06
Anytime when we are working in feed mills and grain elevators we must obtain a "hot work permit" if we are going to do any welding, cutting or grinding that will through off any sparks. The permit expires at the end of each day and is signed by one of our crew and the person in charge of granting such permits at the elevator.

If similar precautions were taken, someone did something they shouldn't have or there was a miscommunication as to what part of the plant where the work was to be done.

I have seen people to some stupid shit. I saw a guy from a local welding shop weld a pach on the boot of a farmer's leg while the damn thing was running. He didn't know any better, he wasn't a millwright. Grain dust is explosive, given the right atmospheric conditions and if it is stirred up! I told him to stop immediately!!!

But you would think the ethanol fumes would have been enough to alert anyone that "striking an arc" ain't something you would want to do!!!!!!!!

shyster512
01-25-2008, 20:11
Illfarmboy-
You probably have heard of many grain bin explosions, and even silo catastrophies.

Cornman
01-26-2008, 11:40
How could this happen? Why would ethanol be found in such high concentrations?

Don't know for sure what happened of course, but Dreyton's is known for their Ports. That means that at least sometimes they have a whole lot of 180+ proof brandy lying around. Harvest, and brandy addition to fermenting juice, is coming up quick in the southern hemisphere.

Jono
01-26-2008, 12:03
Yes, I have really enjoyed some Aussie port...Galway Pipe.

http://newsfeedresearcher.com/data/articles_w3/idw2008.01.17.19.22.06.html

"Trevor Drayton is believed to have sparked an explosion while welding at Drayton's Family Wines on Oakey Creek Road, Pokolbin, one of the family's three wineries, at 8.15am yesterday. It is believed the sparks off his welder hit ethanol fumes (made of brandy spirit) which ignited.[34] The blast, possibly triggered when welding sparks ignited ethanol fumes, tore off part of the roof of the main wine plant at Drayton's Family Wines on Oakey Creek Road, Pokolbin, about 8.30am (AEDT) on Thursday.[21]"

Brandy....typically 40-60% ABV (80-120º proof)

Cornman
01-26-2008, 17:33
Not sure what they use in Australia, but in the US and Portugal the brandy used for fortification is getting up near grain alcohol. It reportedly makes a very poor beverage brandy, but used for fortification it causes the minimum water dilution of the port and has a the lower level of congeners desirable for this application.

If he really was welding near almost pure alcohol it really makes me shudder. For one thing, it reminds me of all the stupid/unthinking things I have done and lived, if only due to luck.

Jono
01-26-2008, 17:51
Illfarmboy - Brad

What does this mean?

"I saw a guy from a local welding shop weld a pach on the boot of a farmer's leg while the damn thing was running."

ILLfarmboy
01-26-2008, 18:54
Illfarmboy - Brad

What does this mean?

"I saw a guy from a local welding shop weld a pach on the boot of a farmer's leg while the damn thing was running."


Sorry, I didn't mean to speek in code.

A "leg" is a bucket elevator leg. The top is called the head, that's where the drive pulley or "head pulley" is. The boot is the bottom section that is either anchored to a cement pad or extends down into a pit with cement walls and floor. The boot contains the "boot pully". Grain is fed into the boot at idealy no lower than where the buckets, which are on a large belt, are upright, If feading the "upside", and as low as you want if feeding the "downside". Grain is taken up in the buckets and dumped as they round the head pulley. Grain continues through the discharge "throat" and into a valve or more commonly a "distributor", sometimes called a "turn head". It contains a "swing pipe" that is either controlled with cables from the ground or electronicly. The "swing pipe" sends the grain down which ever spout you desire. This is what fills the bins.