Vintners Group Assists Earthquake-Rattled Wineries

After a magnitude-6.0 earthquake rocked northern California last weekend, one association is helping local wineries assess the damage and get back on their feet.

Among the hardest hit in Sunday’s magnitude-6.0 earthquake in California were Napa Valley’s wineries. Damages to the area’s $13 billion-a-year wine industry are expected to surpass $1 billion, according to news reports.

We’re wading around in a sea of Cabernet.

While no lives were lost, some wineries sustained damage to barrel storage areas as well as wine inventory and production equipment, according to Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), a local trade association that is helping its members through the recovery process.

“The association is taking several steps to serve as a centralized 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,” the association stated in a release.

At the behest of Napa County officials, NVV is serving as a centralized source of information regarding winery losses and damages. It’s planning a workshop for later this week to help answer any immediate questions of affected wineries.

“We’re wading around in a sea of Cabernet,” Bill Hill, owner of Henry Hill & Company, told CNBC of the damage his winery sustained after the quake. Hill estimated that 20 percent of the nearly 1,000 barrels of wine in his warehouse was lost.

Despite the damage and inventory shortages that can be expected at some individual wineries, such as Hill’s, NVV doesn’t expect to see a significant impact on the area’s wine inventory overall.

And while it’s too early to provide exact damage estimates, NVV said the earthquake did not pose any damage to vineyards or grapes on the vine and that most of the wineries within the 30-mile stretch of Napa Valley are currently open for business.

“Harvest is underway in Napa Valley, and everyone is working hard to get business ‘back to normal’ as quickly as possible,” NVV said.

One of the buildings damaged by this week's Napa quake. (photo by James Gunn/Flickr)

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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