Earthquake Devastates Napa’s Wine Industry

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit Napa Valley on Sunday, leaving a significant damage to the wine industry, according to The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Reuters. It was the largest earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area in 25 years affecting the city and wine country alike.

While wine producers are still scrambling to assess the damage, seismologist David Oppenheimer observes that the potential economic losses “could exceed $100 million.” The earthquake has affected Napa County, which “generates thousands of jobs and a yearly $13 billion for the local economy.”

The earthquake has also damaged historic buildings and private homes in the surrounding area. California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency yesterday morning, as the U.S. Geological Survey predicts “more than 40% chance of aftershocks of a magnitude of 5.0 or greater during the next week.” 

“We are getting ready for the harvest in two weeks,” said Marguerite Capp of Capp Heritage Vineyards. “This is going to hurt a tiny bit, and the we are going to get on with it. Mother Nature moves on whether or not we are ready for her.” However, not all wine producers are as optimistic as Capp.

Silver Oak Winery lost three barrels of wine, which cost the company $100,000. It also lost hundreds of president David Duncan’s private reserve bottles. “We actually call it the inner sanctum of the winery,” said Duncan. “It’s very special, unique reference wines, and we don’t sell them. And so to lose them… they are gone forever.”

It is unknown how much more damage the aftershock of the earthquake will bring to Napa. Producers, in the meantime, await nervously. [The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Reuters] [Photo: Flickr/seligmanwaite]