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Friday, February 6, 2015

California Quake Damaged Wine-Making Industry by News To News

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As a clean-up gets under way after the quake, wine makers assess the damage from hundreds of broken bottles and toppled barrels. Authorities are cleaning up after a powerful earthquake shook California at the weekend, as wine makers assess the damage to their industry. The 6.0-magnitude quake early Sunday morning left 130 people hurt and damaged homes and roads across northern California. No deaths were reported but three people were seriously injured, including a child who is fighting for life after being crushed by a falling fireplace. Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency as the quake sparked fires, burst water mains, caused gas leaks and cracked roads. The earthquake came at a bad time for the wine-producing Napa Valley region, which has just started harvesting the 2014 crop. "It's devastating. I've never seen anything like this," said Tom Montgomery, a wine-maker for BR Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen. The winery - which focuses on high-end wines that retail between $40 and $100 a bottle - may have lost up to 50% of its wine. "It's not just good wine we lost, it's our best wine," Mr Montgomery told the AP news agency. The quake epicentre was just six miles southwest of Napa, a city of 77,000 that has become a major tourist destination thanks to the wine industry. Many residents of the area were roused from sleep in a state of panic. Brick facades gave way in the historic section of downtown Napa, and on the main street masonry collapsed onto a car. Portions of the city's downtown were cordoned off with yellow tape. One building housing winery tasting rooms had to be closed to tourists, and the floors of many wine stores were stained red from the contents of broken wine bottles. Tyler Paradise, general manager of Cult 24 wine bar in Napa, estimated his business lost $50,000 worth of bottles that spilled out of cabinets and littered the floor. As dawn broke, merchants were on the streets sweeping up debris and boarding up windows. Authorities are still adding up the damage to the industry, but it is expected to be significant. Even the wine in barrels that was not damaged by the quake may have problems, because the barrels are supposed to be kept as still as possible. Napa produces only 4% of California's total wine crop, but is credited with $50bn in economic activity per year and its wines are considered among the best in the world, selling for a premium price. Across northern California, fire destroyed four mobile homes and damaged two others at a trailer park, while crews extinguished blazes in two other residential neighbourhoods. Sixty water-main breaks occurred following the quake, which struck near American Canyon some 40 miles (64km) northeast of San Francisco. The US Geological Survey said the earthquake was the most powerful to hit the San Francisco Bay area since the 1989 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake.


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