Several vintners I spoke to weren’t affected by Sunday’s tremor – the 3.92-magnitude earthquake with its epicenter northeast of The Geysers. But this jolt, coupled with the one-year anniversary of the South Napa earthquake, has many vintners taking action.
Here’s a short list of tips from vintners:
1) Talk to insurance brokers about a new earthquake policy for wineries – London Wine Stock & Barrel Coverage. It’s reportedly more reasonable than past options.
2) For vintners who store barrels on the usual metal racks, it’s much more stable to buy four-barrel racks rather than two.
3) For vintners who have the space, they should stack barrels four-high rather than five or six-high.
4) If vintners have a choice, it’s best to locate their barrel storage on bench land rather that valley floor, where earthquakes can result in soil liquefaction.
5) Most importantly, keep in mind the real spirit of your company is in your employees. If they’re resilient, you’ll always have the strength to rebuild.
The final tip is well noted because it comes from someone who is still weathering the South Napa quake — Hailey Trefethen, the third generation owner of Napa’s Trefethen Vineyards. The winery will be rebuilding for yet another year, with repairs in the millions.
The focus continues to be on the historic building on the property that dates back to 1886, a three-story structure that buckled and sagged after the quake. The building now stands straight, and next up is the interior work on the tasting room.
Trefethen never let go of any of her employees, even though the tasting room had to close. She just created new duties for them.
“Our team of employees has a strength in its own right, and it created a strong company that could move forward.”