Wineries evade Napa tremors

Wineries evade Napa tremors News Wine News
  • Thursday 12 April 2001

An earthquake has shattered windows and cut power to thousands in one of California's major wine regions – but so far no serious vineyard damage has been reported.

Three people were left hospitalised and others injured as the quake, measuring 5.2 (moderate severity) on the Richter scale, struck near Yountville, about 50 miles (80 km) north of San Francisco.

Napa authorities declared a state of emergency although the degree of general structural damage appears to be minimal. Wineries in the area have reported no significant incidents – Napa's Carneros Creek only lost three bottles as a result of the quake.

Mount Veeder winery, near to Yountville, said that it was unaffected by the tremors. 'A few pictures fell on the floor but we sustained no significant damage,' said a spokesperson today, adding, 'It is not unusual for this to happen in Napa – we are open for business as usual and have got a full house of visitors.'

Wine is considered by many as very susceptible to damage due to its weight and inherent instability. Commentators say the sideways motion of a quake sets up tremendous stress in a barrel, vat or tank, so that there is much energy created from within. Barrels stacked to the ceiling and large tanks can multiply the effects of the tremors, causing major problems.

Elsewhere, wine bottles and other products were smashed falling from shelves in supermarkets. Tremors were even recorded 50 miles away in San Francisco.

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