Earthquake Rocks Californian Wineries

Wineries in Napa have been contending with one of the worst droughts in recent memory. However on Monday morning, they woke up to a new and horrifying situation. As California was rocked by an Earthquake late Sunday evening, winery floors were littered with 900 pound wine barrels and smashed bottles of the regions finest.

Estimations for the final cost of the damage is still unclear, however with more than 500 wineries in the region, the total is thought to be quite significant. The industry is believed to be worth $13 billion to the region and while most major players are keeping quiet for the time being, some of the smaller wineries are guaranteed to take a big hit.

At Napa Barrel Care, a large warehouse facility in the region, the damage was being surveyed by Carole Meredith and her husband Steve Lagler:

“We’re physically fine but emotionally shell-shocked,” Meredith said. “It’s just devastating. There is a lake of wine on the floor, this is going to be a really expensive earthquake for the wine business.”

The 2013 vintage was bountiful and many barrels had bungs that protected the valuable juice inside, however of course some barrels were lost to the disaster. Speaking from his home in Napa, winemaker Steve Matthiassson surveyed the damage to his own stock:

“Silenus is an ungodly mess,” Matthiasson said. “Luckily most of the bungs are in them. I’m sure we lost some wine, but it’s not a wipeout.”

The earthquake could not have come at a worse time for many in the Napa region. With the 2014 harvest just around the corner, any delay in picking the grapes could seriously affect wineries and the eventual wines that are produced.

At Saintsbury the damage was of a different manor. Although the winery lost hardly any wine from the 2013 range, it suffered extensive losses to it’s 1980’s and 90’s vintage range, as well as losing all water to the facility.

However some wineries really felt the blow with B.R Cohn Winery losing an estimated 50% of its stock. With each bottle retailing between $40 and $100 a bottle, the monetary loss will be significant. Speaking about the damage sustained, B.R Cohn Winemaker Tom Montgomery stated:

“It’s devastating. I’ve never seen anything like this, It’s not just good wine we lost, it’s our best wine,”

We sincerely hope the damage is limited and the cost of the earthquake is manageable for the wineries and winemaker affected.


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