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Shaken not stirred: Earthquake hits California's wine region

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By Rachel Arthur+

Last updated on 26-Aug-2014 at 10:45 GMT

Napa Valley produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay among other acclaimed wines
Napa Valley produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay among other acclaimed wines

Wine producers in California are assessing the damage after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit the region.

The earthquake struck on Sunday morning near Napa, injuring more than 200 people and damaging buildings.  

Napa Valley is a significant wine-producing region, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc all produced in the area. 

Damages and losses

Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), a local trade association, said it is too early to provide damage or loss estimates for the industry.

However, it said the earthquake is ‘not expected to have a significant impact’ on the general wine inventory of the region, and continues to forecast a good year for the industry.  

It reported some of its members have sustained damage in barrel storage areas, wine stocks, and wine production equipment. However, grapes on the vine have not been affected.

A statement from NVV said, “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.

Napa County officials have asked the NVV to serve as a centralized resource by compiling information about damages and losses experienced by wineries.

‘Another excellent vintage’

The NVV will host a workshop this week to help wine producers affected by the earthquake (details to be published here ).

It adds producers are working to get business ‘back to normal’ as quickly as possible.

Weather throughout the growing season has been ideal and vintners are expecting yet another excellent vintage, the third year in a row in the region. The earthquake did not impact vineyards or the grapes on the vine and majority of Napa Valley’s wineries are open for business.

For those who did suffer equipment or facility damage, there are resources available to secure temporary tanks and other production equipment to help them get through the next few weeks.

"The spirit of collaboration for which the Napa Valley is known is expected to prevail, even for those who did suffer damage.

The Napa Valley is a small but significant wine producing region, thanks to its Mediterranean climate and geology.

It only produces 4% of California’s wine grape harvest, but a 2012 report from Napa Valley Vintners said the region’s wine production had an economic impact of more than $13bn annually, while generating two-thirds of local employment.  

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