Tank shoveling can be dirty business. Perhaps it is the most physical job in the winery. It requires crawling inside a dark, humid, wet, stinky tank and shoveling the contents out. No doubt shoveling wet berries, stems, and seeds is hard. However, being inside the tank you are standing in about 3-4 feet of fermented grape skins. The tank is wet and slippery its almost impossible to get solid footing. Once again the only way to get the contents out is through a small gate in the front of the tank. If this is not bad enough the fermented must is full of carbon dioxide, making the tank an oxygen deficient environment. Great precautions are taken when entering a tank of fermenting must. The tank is ventilated with a fan, the air is tested with air quality sensors, and a harness with oxygen sensors are worn by the person entering the tank. Another person known as the “attendant” waits outside with a large “hook” in case a person passes out inside the tank. The lack of oxygen causes a person to fatigue much quicker then usual when shoveling.Thankfully I survived to shovel another day. Here is a look inside a tank and a few shots of before and after. Special thanks to Rocha for the pleasant interview before risking my life.
Living the dream~ Jacob