Charles Darwin at a green chalkboard.

2004 Darwin Awards

Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.

Homemade Wine
2004 Darwin Award Winner
Unconfirmed by Darwin

(22 April 2004, Georgia) At a Cave Springs "convenience dump" where local residents could drop off waste for later delivery to the main county dump, monitors were paid to ensure that residents deposited only allowed waste. One keen-eyed inspector noticed a bottle in the trash compactor that looked suspiciously like homemade wine. He fished the bottle out of the compactor. At this point you may be thinking this is a "man crushed by compactor" story--but no!

After safely retrieving the bottle, the gentleman in question and another local man proceeded to drink the "wine". Apparently, neither of them took a clue from the fact that the bottle had been thrown away in a dump, leading to the reasonable conclusion that its contents were undrinkable. This particular vintage was antifreeze. Both men were poisoned, and one died.

By coincidence, there is an actual winery called Cave Springs Cellars, located a thousand miles north of Georgia in Niagara, Ontario.

Ironically, if the men had actually been drinking wine along with their antifreeze, both might have lived. Ethanol is sometimes used in hospitals to counteract the deadly effects of antifreeze poisoning. Antifreeze is not toxic until the ethylene glycol is converted to oxalic acid, which crystallizes and damages the kidneys. Since the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase is the first step in forming oxalic acid, the reaction is inhibited by administering a dose of ethanol, which competes for the enzyme."

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Reference: WRGA 1470AM in Rome GA, Dr. Bob Loudon

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