Food Daily Dish

Napa Valley wineries sustain damage from 6.0 earthquake

Early Sunday quake south of Napa shakes California wine region

Wineries in Napa Valley spent the morning assessing damage after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake centered just south of the city of Napa sent bottles flying at 3:20 a.m. 

Some of the earliest photos posted on social media came from David Duncan, chief executive of Silver Oak Winery in Oakville, 12 miles north of Napa. Duncan said he lost hundreds of bottles in his office. They were mostly blends the winery makes from single vineyards. In the winery, three casks fell and began to leak, but they were salvageable. 

Silver Oak makes close to 100,000 cases of wine. It’s the smaller wineries that can be devastated. 

Steve Matthiasson, one of Napa’s top viticulturists, began tweeting in the early morning regarding damage at his small family winery just north of Napa. “All of our 2013 red barrels are on the ground, don’t know how much wine is lost.”

That's particularly devastating in his Twitter feed, coming just after cheerful reports on the harvest. 

Robert Sinskey of Robert Sinskey Vineyards on the Silverado Trail north of the town of Napa tweeted “#bummer #earthquake #harvest 2014” with a picture of what looks like an office or storage room, cabinets opened, contents spilled, wine cabinets turned over.

Saintsbury posted yet another photo of wine casks tumbled in a pile in the middle of the floor of the winery in the Carneros area.

Wine publicist and journalist Alan Goldfarb reports that Bouchaine Vineyards, also in Carneros, lost a good deal of Cabernet (they’re still trying to figure out how much).

Wine importer Steve Ventrello who also makes wine under the Parador Cellars label and lives in the city of Napa, wrote in an email: “Our company sample room (our converted garage) reminds me of Valentino Restaurant after that quake of 1994.”

He says the door to his wine cellar there is blocked by boxes and broken bottles, so he hasn’t yet assessed that damage. “We have preliminary reports of damage to stored wine at our warehouse facility and most concerning, the winery where I make our wine simply reports that 'it is a mess', so we do not yet know if we've lost any barrels of our fantastic 2013 vintage and 2012 reserve wines, but we do know there have been reports of fallen barrels of wine in south Napa facilities.”

A quake such as Sunday's has affected not only wineries, but wine businesses in the valley. Carole Meredith of Lagier Meredith, a small producer with a vineyard on Mt. Veeder, tweeted out a photo of the damage at Napa Barrel Care “where thousands of barrels are stored, including ours.” In another tweet, she says, “Just heard from a friend that wine is flowing out to NBC into the parking lot.” 

Napa Barrel Care bills itself as “Napa Valley’s Premier Wine Barrel Storage Solution.” It’s located just west of California 29 at the southern end of Napa. 

As we hear back from winemakers, we'll update this report.

Follow @sirenevirbila on Twitter for more on food and wine.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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