Wine Losses From Northern California Quake Will Likely Total Millions

The scene at Bouchaine Vineyards in Napa. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

The 6.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay Area early yesterday morning stands to devastate the local wine economy. The quake's epicenter was in Napa Valley, home to more than 500 vineyards, and while it is far too soon to estimate the wine-country-specific damage, numerous photos of wrecked storage rooms and punctured barrels, not to mention general reports from producers, are starting to come in, and the situation looks grim.

In addition to vineyards and other industry-side facilities, wine bars, retail outlets, and restaurants lost inventory during the earthquake. Barrels storing last year's grapes tumbled to the floors, breaking open, while bottles in cellars or on store shelves fell to the floor. One business owner estimated a loss of "'at least' $15,000 to $20,000 of wine inventory," while another, whose cellar holds an estimated $1 million of inventory, said "99 percent" of the inventory was left intact. One distributor who was holding 80,000 cases said his damage was just one bottle of wine. In the case of Silver Oak Winery, several bottles of "irreplaceable" wine were destroyed.

Structural damage remains a separate issue — in one case, a winery's water tank became untethered, which will delay this year's production, which is already hampered by drought. In the images below, each barrel you see damaged or destroyed is the equivalent of 25 cases, or 300 bottles of wine.

An online forum has been created for winemakers in need of help navigating the recovery process.

It's not just wine.

Napa restaurants assess the Northern California earthquake damage [Inside Scoop SF]
A Big Earthquake Hit Northern California This Morning [Daily Intelligencer]