Earthquake near wine producers expected to have minimal effect

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By Justin Manjorin | Wine & Food Editor

NAPA VALLEY, CALIF. This week the Napa Valley Vintners Association issued the following statement: “While some individual wineries may experience inventory shortages as a result of the earthquake, it is not expected to have a significant impact on the Napa Valley wine inventory in general.”

As devastating as an earthquake may be, the timing of this one was good. The quake, which occurred around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, did not result in the loss of any life. This would have been quite different if the event had occurred 24 hours later as the 2014 wine harvest was scheduled to begin. There would have been many workers around the wine barrels, which can weigh up to 900 pounds when filled.

While it is too early to assess the total loss, the growers have to concentrate on the harvest for now. The damage is done but the grapes won’t wait.


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I have been to Napa many times and I called some of my friends there. They tell me that the Southern end of the valley was more affected than the Northern side. It appears the damage ranged from nothing or minimal to half or more of the current inventory from the 2012 and 2013 vintages. The 2014 harvest is expected to be as good as if not better than that of last year.

Mario Andretti of NASCAR fame owns Andretti Vineyards in Napa. He lost about 30 cases of wine.

Wine drinkers recognize the Napa name but many don’t realize that Napa only produces about 4 percent of the wine made in the United States. So there should be no wine shortage, although some limited production (expensive) wines might be more difficult to find.

In closing, while there has been significant property damage (estimated at $1 billion) the vast majority of the wineries in the Napa Valley region will be open for business by the weekend.

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