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Fire destroys over $3m of wine

A fire last Thursday destroyed over US$3m of Napa Valley’s Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon.

This was a much higher figure than was initially reported, but more important to the winery was the loss of its ‘heritage,’ the site where the first vintage was bottled, a winery spokesman told decanter.com.

‘The bigger story is the loss of our heritage,’ Silver Oak director of public relations Bob Little said, referring to the destruction of the winery’s oldest stone and wood building, where founders Ray Duncan – the current owner – and Justin Meyer bottled Silver Oak’s first vintage in 1972.

The blaze, caused by ‘human error’ from ‘smouldering ashes in the building’s fireplace,’ Little said, began just before 6 am on 2 February. It took three hours to bring under control.

Silver Oak Cabernet is a highly rated wine that has held annual celebrations of its latest vintage releases. Despite the fire, the winery went ahead with a party on Saturday to celebrate the release of its 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon.

‘We had an overwhelming response,’ Little said. ‘Thousands of people came, more than I have seen in five years.’

Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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