How the California Earthquake Will Affect Wine Prices

Monday, August 25, 2014

No use crying over spilled wine.

With the epicenter of Sunday's earthquake that struck Northern California a mere six miles southwest of Napa, vino fans across the country have been concerned about the many wines that were destroyed in the 6.1-magnitude tumbler.

Although some places sustained losses in the thousands of dollars, wine drinkers can breathe a sigh of relief since the damage from Sunday's earthquake -- while devastating for some residents and Napa's famed wineries -- is not likely to affect how much you pay for that bottle of red or white, experts said.

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Sara Cummings, a spokeswoman for Sonoma County Vintners, which represents more than 200 wineries and affiliates, said the 450 wineries in the county are currently assessing the damage.

"Losses of wine and other damages in Sonoma County, while significant for several wineries, seem to be relatively minor," she said.

Winemakers said many images of damaged bottles were taken from wine bars and stores around downtown Napa, as opposed to the agricultural region surrounding it. Still, Cummings said it's "too soon to tell if any losses will impact wine prices," though many residents and restaurants experienced property damage. According to one estimate, the overall damage from the quake may reach $1 billion, says EQECAT, a company that studies catastrophe risk.

Larry Hyde, of Hyde Vineyards, echoed Cummings' comments.

"Our Hyde Vineyards winery had barrels tumbling down," he said, adding there were "some broken bottles of wine and some lost barrels."

"Some might be drilled and transferred to new barrels to be salvaged as they piled up tumbling down breaking [barrel] staves," said Hyde.

Fortunately, Hyde's harvest of Pinot Noir grapes went on as scheduled Sunday.

In other places the damage was significant. At Dahl Vineyards in Yountville, Calif., a barrel containing $16,000 worth of Pinot Noir smashed to the ground, according to the Associated Press. A wine bar in Napa, Cult 24, may have lost about $50,000 worth of wine, according to Reuters.

There was no damage at Landmark Vineyards in Sonoma, according to a spokeswoman. Aimee Sands, senior communications manager for Jackson Family Wines in Santa Rosa, said the winery sustained "only some minor damage." Sheri Hebbeln, vice president of marketing for WineDirect, based in Napa, called the damage "minimal."

"Seventy-five cases of wine suffered damage at most," said Hebbeln. "Our racking and storage systems held up as expected and our conveyor systems all appear to be in working order. Our Napa offices are okay as well -- messy -- but nothing we can't clean up."

ABC News' Zunaira Zaki contributed to this report.

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