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Napa Valley Vintners pledges $10m to quake relief

Napa's main wine trade body has pledged $10m to a disaster relief fund as local wineries pick through barrels strewn across their cellars by the most powerful earthquake in Northern California for 25 years.

Damage to component wines for blending at Silver Oak Cellars. Image Credit: David Duncan

Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) said that it will donate $10m to create a Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund to ‘help meet the immediate needs of local residents and local businesses impacted by Sunday’s earthquake’.

NVV, which has spent $120m on community projects since 1981, will work with the Napa Valley Community Foundation to administer the funding. It also called for extra donations.

Napa residents awoke to the sound of smashing crockery and the sight of shaking walls at 3:20am last Sunday, as the 6.1 magnitude quake struck the area. Its epicentre was American Canyon, just south of downtown Napa.

Jeannie Cho Lee MW, co-chair of the 2014 Decanter Asia Wine Awards and who was in the area on a work trip, told of how she hid under a table as the room around her shook violently.

Local authorities reported that around 170 people were admitted to hospital. Three had serious injuries.

In the wine world, several wineries saw barrels tossed to the floor. Some suffered ruptured wine vats, while others arrived on the scene to find wine bottles smashed.

However, other wineries reported little or no effect. While the damage was still being assessed, California’s Wine Institute said it did not expect the earthquake to reduce wine supplies on the market.

Earlier this year, NVV raised a record US$18.7m at its annual Auction Napa Valley charity event, exceeding the previous record of US$16.9m set in 2013.

Written by Chris Mercer

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