This plastic bubbler and silicone bung was one of many used during the 1997 fermentation of white wines at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley, California.
Fermentation begins after grapes are crushed and the juices released. The fermenting process involves yeast bacteria, which convert sugar in the grape juice into alcohol. Typically a primary fermentation occurs in large tanks. The juice is then transferred into smaller containers such as wooden barrels or glass carboys, where the fermentation process is slowed down and completed. Bubblers like this, partially filled with water, are fitted snugly into each container’s opening. This one-way airlock device prevents oxygen and airborne particles from entering and spoiling the wine, while allowing carbon dioxide, built-up by the fermentation process, to escape. Once the bubbling stops, the fermentation is complete.
Object Name
valve, fermenting
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
silicone (overall material)
manufactured (overall production method/technique)
overall: 12.2 cm x 5.5 cm x 5.5 cm; 4 13/16 in x 2 5/32 in x 2 5/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
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Work and Industry: Food Technology
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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