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Monday, August 25, 2014

Damage From Napa Quake Could Top $1 Billion; Wineries Begin to Clean Up the Mess

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 9:12 AM

The 6.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked Napa yesterday had more consequences than physical injuries and crumpled buildings: It will certainly have consequences in the region's $50 billion wine industry. Social media streams yesterday were taken up by shot after shot of wine storage rooms in chaos, barrels and bottles on the floor, all of it stained red like a particularly grisly crime scene. But the only crime was potentially thousands of gallons of valuable Napa red wine being poured back onto the earth after being shaken off the shelves.

Wineries are particularly vulnerable right now because it's their busiest time, the beginning of harvest season; in a cruel twist of fate, it's an early harvest this year because of the drought. The region is estimated to have more than $1 billion in damages, according to the Washington Post, and a chunk of that certainly will be lost wine inventory and production. Horror stories abound: Winery B.R. Cohn lost "as much as 50 percent of its wine," and Yountville's Dahl Vineyards lost a barrel of pinot noir worth $16,000, according to AP. Sebastiani Winery's Christopher Johnson shared a video from the Sonoma winery's tank room, where both 2013 white and red were pouring onto the floor

Vintner Steve Matthiasson told the LA Times that though his barrels were tossed to the ground during the quake, most of them seem to be holding. However, they're set to harvest grapes all this week — a task he's up for, as long as he can find somewhere to put the wine. More stories will come pouring in as the damage is assessed, a task that industry group Napa Valley Vintners say could take up to 72 hours

Meanwhile, restaurants like Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc and countless others are assessing their damage, cleaning up broken glassware, and trying to get in shape to reopen for service. Inside Scoop has been tracking the restaurants open in the Napa area.

A local olive oil shop took a hit too:

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About The Author

Anna Roth

Anna Roth

Anna Roth is SF Weekly's former Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.

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