As one moves further from the quake’s epicenter, other wineries reported more modest damage. In Oakville, Silver Oak Winery lost “a couple hundred bottles” of wine, said Ian Leggat, a spokesman for Silver Oak, as well as three barrels full of wine. Most of the product damaged at Silver Oak was single-vineyard wines the winery uses for testing. None of the wines sold to consumers were damaged in the quake, Leggat said.
Even the wine in barrels that wasn’t damaged by the quake may have problems, however, because wines aging in barrels are supposed to be kept as still as possible, Montgomery said.
Napa is California’s best-known winemaking region. While it produces only 4 percent of California’s total wine crop, Napa’s wines are considered among the best in the world and sell for a premium price. The Napa Valley does $50 billion in economic activity a year, or roughly a quarter of wine industry for the entire U.S., according to Napa Valley Vinters.
The earthquake adds to what has already been a difficult year for California winemakers. California is in the middle of its worst drought in decades, and the earthquake comes just as winemakers in the region are getting ready to harvest the 2014 crop. Winemakers were reporting modest damage to equipment, which could affect harvesting.