Napa Valley earthquake

The damage from the earthquake that took place recently in California’s premium wine producing region, Napa Valley, is variously estimated at between US$500 million and $1 billion.

Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), which represents vine growers and wine producers in the area to the north of San Francisco says its immediate priority remains the health and wellbeing of those in the community affected by the earthquake.

This includes the more than 200 treated for injuries at Queen of the Valley Medical Center; more than 200 who were offered aid from the Red Cross; the dozens of buildings and homes that have been “red-tagged” following the incident; and the neighbourhoods that are still without water and gas and may be for several more days.

The association says it is taking several steps to serve as a centralised resource for its 500 members, including sending bulletins with updated information about earthquake resources and adding an Earthquake Relief section to its online Vintners Forum to facilitate winery-to-winery assistance and support. Napa County officials have asked the NVV to serve as a centralised resource by compiling information about damages and losses experienced by wineries.

The NVV is also planning a workshop later this week to help those affected by the earthquake with their immediate questions.

Harvest is underway in Napa Valley. The association says the weather throughout the growing season has been ideal and vintners are expecting another excellent vintage, the third year in a row in the region. The earthquake did not impact vineyards or the grapes on the vine and majority of Napa Valley’s wineries are open for business.

The NVV says that for those who did suffer equipment or facility damage, there are resources available to secure temporary tanks and other production equipment to help them get through the next few weeks. “The spirit of collaboration for which the Napa Valley is known is expected to prevail, even for those who did suffer damage,” states the association.

It concludes that it is too early to provide damage or loss estimates for wine, equipment and facilities, but here are some things that are known:

• Some NVV member wineries did sustain damage to their barrel storage areas, wine inventory and production equipment over the weekend, but details are not available.

• There were no reports of winery employees being injured by the earthquake.

• The majority of the wine that is at the wineries right now is from the 2012 and 2013 vintages – the two most abundant vintages ever. While some individual wineries may experience inventory shortages as a result of the earthquake, it is not expected to have a significant impact on Napa Valley wine inventory in general.