Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Napa Valley wine industry rocked by 6.1 earthquake

Published:  26 August, 2014

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Napa Valley early Saturday morning, leaving core restaurant and wine industries in both Napa and Sonoma counties reeling as they assess damages.

According to the US Geological Services, the epicenter of the quake struck 10 km southwest of Napa at 3:20am causing houses to shake in the center of San Francisco and knocking out power to more than 50,000 houses. The earthquake triggered six major fires and power outages to tens of thousands of residences and businesses, as well as injuring at least 87 people, leading California state governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency.  

The majority of restaurants in downtown Napa were forced to close their doors on Sunday in order to assess the damage, most commonly related to broken glass. After the initial clean-up is completed, restaurants will face the greater financial difficulties such as lost wine inventory and possible structural damage to the buildings.

"It's not a pretty day in Napa. That's for sure," said Marion Emmanuelle of The Thomas at Fagiani's, an up-scale restaurant and bar in downtown Napa. Emmanuelle says that although "there's a lot of broken everything," he remains hopeful that there is no structural damage, though that will have to be assessed.

Other downtown establishments fared far worse, such as popular wine bar, Carpe Diem, and City Winery. Whilst Carpe Diem, pictured below, suffered massively from the quake and was perhaps the hardest hit, there is still no word from the owners as to the actual extent of damage. City Winery, a venue for music, winemaking and the culinary arts was flooded with water and littered with wine bottles that crashed to the floor, according to owner Michael Dorf.

Napa Valley vintners also faced various degrees of devastation in the cellars and in the vineyards. David Duncan, president of Silver Oak in Oakville, tweeted photos displaying hundreds of bottles scattered on the floor; the wines were part of his private collection and valued at hundreds of dollars a bottle.

"Those bottles were very unique," he said. "It's a tragedy, but it's nothing we can't overcome." Duncan said he plans to open the winery today.

Napa-based Mathiassons Wine also suffered product loss of some wine ageing in barrels at Silenus Vitners just north of Napa. A tweet made earlier by Mathiasson stated: "All of our 2013 red barrels are on the ground, don't know how much wine is lost yet." According to their twitter page, the extent of the losses is still uncertain.

There were at least four aftershocks larger than 2.0 magnitude felt in Napa County Sunday morning, ranging in size from 2.5 to 3.6 magnitude, according to the US Geological Survey, and it is predicted that between 30 and 70 small aftershocks could hit the area during the next week.

 Has your wine business been affected by the Napa earthquake? Please get in touch via email, by commenting below or through Twitter @HarpersWine