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Zin, Maria and others, I hope that you are all safe. Please report in. The epicenters were right near Carneros Creek.

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  1. Is Carneros Creek in/at American Canyon?

    13 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      No, Caneros is at the other end of the county. However I would think many wineries in area will have damage. Here in San Jose, I felt nothing. Best wishes for those in the affected area.

      1. re: budnball

        I'm sorry, not the winery but, the actual creek itself on the map that I looked at. It was an area where a lot of boats were docked both wet and dry.


        1. re: budnball

          I'm poor at geography but that's what I was thinking. We regularly visit Sonoma. From what I've read there was only one serious injury. The '89 quake killed 63 but most of those were on the section of freeway that pancaked. Sounds like some roads have cracks and are closed. Our friends in Sonoma proper had a few things fall off shelves but that was all. It was a "rolling" quake which seems like they're easier to ride out.

        2. re: c oliver

          The USGS map points to a Carneros Creek location just the other side of Fagan Slough from Napa County airport (and American Canyon). i.e. south Sonoma, at the head of the bay.

          1. re: paulj

            The epicenter was close to the Napa Airport.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              And you're okay as well as your home? x,c

              1. re: c oliver

                All OK at home. No injuries just some breakage. The quake was very violent--things flew off walls, heavy furniture moved 2-3 feet, big refrigerator walked across kitchen. Lamps tossed onto floor, items on tables/sideboard/counters also tossed onto floor. Cabinets opened, canned/bottled goods fell and broke. Wine glasses crashed and broke. Chandeliers swayed violently. Front sidewalk cracked. Frightening to be in the middle of it. But we are OK.

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  Thanks. I know you're in Napa so was hoping to hear from you. Best, C

              2. re: maria lorraine

                I'll never forget going through the 89 quake here in Santa Cruz. I was looking down at the ground waiting for it to open up . I was scared shitless, thinking this is it damn it. California is sliding into the ocean. Scary shit. Hope everyone is OK .

                1. re: emglow101

                  As one who was on the San Jose side of the hills for that one, I remember the same feelings. And like that one, much of the damage has yet to be documented. Smaller wineries and properties in the Napa hills are not likely to get much news coverage, but I can image large losses.

                  1. re: budnball

                    I'm hearing the 2013 vintage (in barrels) was hit pretty hard at some of the southern Napa wineries.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Broken barrels, open bungs? Or can it settle? Not hearing much from wine reps covering OC.

                      Glad you're OK.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        Some broken barrels. Some bungs held, some did not.
                        Seams broke on large tanks. Some tanks bolted to floor did not hold and fell.

          2. Is French Laundry ( with its fine wine collection ) OK?!

              1. re: ernie in berkeley

                Reminds me of my college library after a 1970s LA earthquake - shelves of bound journals flattened by the shaking. If shelves and racks aren't properly braced, they can come tumbling down.

                1. re: ernie in berkeley

                  That looks like it could have been prevented. A 6.0 is not that strong. It would not be difficult to design a storage systen that would have held up.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    Agreed. I know that the straps we had to install for our water heater didn't let it budge in the '89 one.

                    ETA: Here's a chart.


                  2. re: ernie in berkeley

                    That damage is all around the valley. Filled barrels weigh 900 lbs. and they were tossed.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Do vintners generally have earthquake insurance?

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        Afternoon reports seemed to say that up valley things weren't so bad, but they were talking mainly about restaurants, markets, etc. Is it a different story with the wineries? Thanks so much for your feedback ML, you're all in our thoughts and prayers.

                    2. The owner of the winery in the photo I posted says that the bungs held for most of the barrels and he's only lost a few.

                      And here's a 20-second video of a fermentation tank spraying wine through a crack at Sebastiani. They're saying 19 of their tanks were damaged.


                      7 Replies
                      1. re: ernie in berkeley

                        I would assume all wineries in earthquake country carry earthquake insurance. Pretty foolish if they don't.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Actually, I would be surprised if they did carry insurance specifically for earthquakes. I'd figure that any damage to a winery would be minimal and the event so infrequent as to make the insurance not worth its cost.

                          1. re: kagemusha49

                            Earthquake insurance is not cheap.

                            1. re: paulj

                              No, it's not and the deductibles are enormous %s. But I'd think lenders would require it. But I don't know that. I know every year we have to actively opt out of purchasing it.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Yes, agreed, most lenders require earthquake insurance. Even if they didn't, the liability of barrels or tanks toppling onto employees or visitors in a quake makes insurance seem like a no-brainer. But some smaller wineries don't have earthquake insurance.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I don't know about business loans for wineries, but home lenders don't require it.


                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Yeah, I know that but was just wondering about commercial loans. Don't have the answer.

                        2. Lots of breakage in lower Napa Valley, power still out in fermentation tanks where juice is being made into wine (critical time factor before potential wine is lost). Barrels filled with wine cracked open and wine lost. Barrels upended, tossed onto cellar floors. Large fermentation tanks tipped over, dented.

                          Photos, in order, of Silver Oak wine bottles on floor, enormous fermentation tanks tipped over and dented, Blackbird wine barrels tossed onto floor (photo from Aaron Pott).

                          1. Sending all good thoughts from the East Coast. Wondering about how Caneros Inn and Boon Fly Cafe on Highway 12 made out. We stayed in the American Canyon Holiday Inn October '12 & '13.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: InvisibleKid


                              The Boon Fly and Carneros Inn came through in great shape. Lots of broken glassware but no apparent structural damage. I suspect modern construction codes and the lack of brick and stone prevented greater damage.

                              Downtown Napa, though further from the epicenter, suffered the most. More than 150 buildings were "red tagged" making them off limits for residential and commercial use. The concentration of older brick and stone buildings in central Napa proved very vulnerable to the quake.

                              1. re: cortez

                                Thanks for the update. So sad for the tremendous loss for so many, but thankful it was not worse.

                                1. re: cortez

                                  Same thing happened in downtown Santa Cruz, where virtually all of the brick buildings from the late 1800s and very early 1900s were red-tagged.

                                  Then, adding insult to injury, the National Register of Historic Places removed downtown Santa Cruz from their list less than a month after the '89 quake . . .

                              2. The level of damage depends upon a) the distance from the epicenter; b) the type of construction used in building; and c) LUCK.

                                For example, Pine Ridge sustained ZERO damage -- none whatsoever. Then again, Silver Oak got hit bad . . .

                                The photo is of B.R. Cohn's place in Napa.

                                36 Replies
                                1. re: zin1953

                                  Notice how the barrels were just stacked up on a flimsy little rack system evidently without anchoring to the walls. This mess is not evidence of the severity of the earthquake, which was moderate, but of the utter lack of preparation for a quake. I don't think the building had anything to do with it.

                                  1. re: GH1618

                                    Gary, the specific racking system in the photograph is standard in the industry. It holds two barrels; is stackable, and a stack is movable by forklift; and it has been promoted as being "safe" in a quake. (Perhaps they'll reconsider that now.) There *is* a larger size that holds four barrels, rather than two, in a square pattern. IIRC, it's more money than two 2-barrel racks, but -- again -- that's something to reconsider.

                                    1. re: zin1953

                                      So it's not 'shelves', but spacers that allow them to stack barrels on top of each other. There's nothing to anchor.

                                      "This rack has a 7” forklift opening which allows enough room to get your head between the barrels in a stack to see and smell." Makes me wonder if the state will require new warning stickers.

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        Ya know that old "necessity is the mother of invention"? I bet people are already working on this, don't you? In '89 our neighborhood wine shop put strands of thick gauge wire a few inches up from each shelf. Not going to help with the big one but helped with bottles walking off the shelves.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          A butcher near me is known for it's collection of hot sauces. For a while they posted a picture of a very unhappy owner cleaning up the mess after the 2001 Nisqually earthquake.

                                      2. re: zin1953

                                        Ok, it's supposed to be safe in an earthquake. It isn't. Perhaps they will rethink this.

                                        BTW, I live about 20 miles from the epicenter (and also experienced the Loma Prieta earthquake). It knocked a few books on the floor. Certainly Napa was harder hit, but a magnitude 6 earthquake is not extreme. A storage system which would have held together would not be difficult to design. It must be tied to the walls, and the sections must be tied together.

                                        1. re: GH1618

                                          FWIW, the Loma Prieta quake (6.9¹) destroyed several racking systems used by various Santa Cruz Mountain wineries, including those attached "securely" (I guess not,eh?) to the walls. We used the racking system shown in that photograph, and we suffered NO damage to any of our barrels -- just to case goods in the warehouse and bottles in the tasting room . . .

                                          ¹ Marked down from 7.1.

                                          1. re: zin1953

                                            Of course it depends on where you were relative to the LP earthquake and the particulars of the buildings, not only the racking system. It is not surprising that a magnitude 7 quake would do damage in places where earthquake preparation had been carried out. For a magnitude 6, there should be no significant damage to a warehouse of barrels, whether empty or full, if the storage system is well-engineered.

                                            1. re: GH1618

                                              A magnitude 6 at a depth of six miles is a whole different animal than one at say 30, along with other variables.

                                              1. re: PolarBear

                                                Agreed. Too many variables to compare probably ever. And this one was described as "rolling." Would that be apt to cause more damage?

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  It could, if there's a resonance effect and the barrels aren't secured. Anyway, they did fall down and they shouldn't have.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    I'd describe it as a huge jolt upwards, then a roll, then violent shaking. I was in the middle of it, and awake at the time, 15 miles from the epicenter. It was the jolt upwards that was extremely violent, but it was all violent.

                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                      I was crossing a street at Union Square in '89 and felt nothing. But we were far from the epicenter.

                                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                                        We were awakened in Healdsburg to our beds "rolling." but we felt no additional jolts.

                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                        This one was called a "slip" type quake, i.e. the movement of the ground was horizontal. The 1994 Northridge was a "thrust" type which is vertical movement which has greater potential for damage. Note that it was a 6.7 (seven time stronger) and at a depth of about 11 miles or so.

                                                    2. re: GH1618

                                                      >>> For a magnitude 6, there should be no significant damage to a warehouse of barrels, whether empty or full, if the storage system is well-engineered. <<<

                                                      There are simply far too many variables for you to say that so definitively.

                                                      The Loma Preita quake had its epicenter in the Forest of Nisene Marks (but "Loma Prieta" is easier to say, I guess). The winery was approx. 6 miles from the epicenter. On the other hand the racking system at David Bruce Winery was destroyed and barrels flew across the room and burst (but the building was fine) . . . it was only because of the World Series that people knocked off work early, and no one was killed. Ahlgren lost their 10,000-gallon water tank and suffered a partial collapse of their cellar. Silver Mountain Winery burned to the ground. Pallets of wine (56 cases) were tossed aside at Noble Hill, and Roudon-Smith saw one of their stainless tanks literally flip upside-down. And yet Bargetto -- one of the closest wineries to the epicenter -- suffered very little damage . . .

                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                        I don't get your point here. Are you talking about the Loma Prieta earthquake? That was a magnitude seven (approximately). Of course there was a lot of damage. A magnitude seven releases far more energy than a six, and is consequently more difficult to engineer structures which will survive without damage. As you imply, it also depends on where you are and on the design of the building. The engineering required to withstand a magnitude seven quake is not at issue here.

                                                        But this was only a magnitude six. Many structures were damaged, but they were old, poorly built (for an earthquake zone) structures, such as those made of brick, or newer but poorly engineered structures. I am an engineer and I can say definitely that a storage system for barrels can be designed which would not have collapsed in this earthquake. This one collapsed because the people who use such things want not only earthquake resilience, they also want low cost and ease-of-use. The last means a system which comes apart easily, and that's what it did.

                                                        Perhaps it would ride through a magnitude five earthquake perfectly well, but that's not saying much. Practically everything survives a magnitude five intact.

                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                          >>> I don't think the building had anything to do with it. <<<

                                                          >>> . . . it also depends on where you are and on the design of the building. <<<

                                                          YEs, it *does* depend upon the building . . . and dozens of other variables.

                                                          AND my point re: Loma Prieta is that -- YES! -- it was a much stronger earthquake and yet some wineries much closer to the epicenter sustained far less damage than wineries that were farther away. (And, by the way, they used the same racking system, too.) In other words, it's not that easy to say, "Oh, they/we should do 'X' -- it's simple."

                                                          Nothing is simple in a quake. Be it a 6.0 or a 6.9 . . .

                                                          Want to make "beaucoups bucks"? Go ahead, Gary -- design the system. But you need it to be easily moveable, as barrels get topped off and rolled frequently, and moved from place to place by forklift with the winery (or in between winery buildings) more often than you might think . . .

                                                          (As I said above, the same racking company makes a rack that holds foul barrels [2x2 configuration, versus the 2x1 that you see in the photos]. Perhaps that's a better way to go?)

                                                          1. re: zin1953

                                                            "easily movable" — there's the rub. If it's easily movable, chances are it will in an earthquake. Everything needs to be connected together, meaning extra time when moving sections to disconnect. I suppise if you had such a system, people would get tired of using it and just leave things loose.

                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                              In January 1980, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Livermore (epicenter was 10 miles northwest of downtown Livermore). In addition to damage suffered by Lawrence Livermore National Lab (and Sandia), three stainless steel fermenters buckled and collapsed at Wente Vineyards, then known as Wente Bros. A friend of mine "bailed out" from the catwalk as the tank was falling . . . broke an arm, IIRC, in addition to cuts and bruises. Maybe his ankle, too.

                                                              The same 5.8 quake caused that triple pallet stack (168 cases) to come crashing to the ground in one of the warehouses at Louis M. Martini Winery in St. Helena (Napa Valley), some 80-85 miles away from Wente . . . figure the epicenter was at least 70 miles from St. Helena.

                                                              1. re: zin1953

                                                                You would think the vinters would be doing a better job of earthquake preparedness after that. Some are, but clearly not all.

                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                  What do you think could have been improved? The stainless steel tanks that burst yesterday had their seams split, from what I've been told, but did not buckle/collapse as at Wente in 1980, nor "flip upside-down" as at Roudon-Smith in 1989.

                                                                  The triple pallet that fell over at Martini was surrounded on three sides by other pallet stacks of wine . . .

                                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                                    I couldn't say without looking at the details of the incident. I don't suppose one can prevent a seam from splitting. The main thing is that tanks should not topple, endangering life and limb of anybody nearby. Some of the photos I have seen in the present case show tall stainless steel tanks which are free-standing, except for piping. That is not adequate.

                                                                    The stacked barrels present probably a greater hazard, as is evident from the photograph here. It was fortunate that this quake happened during non-working hours.

                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                      From Decanter magazine -- http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-new... -- here's something for you, Gary:

                                                                      / / / / /

                                                                      'This is a wake-up call for the Napa and Sonoma community,' said David Duncan, chief executive at Silver Oak Cellars in Oakville, where only three barrels fell.

                                                                      He said Silver Oak's winery benefited from a complete rebuild following a fire in 2006. Barrels were stacked on pallets in blocks of four.

                                                                      'Every picture of damage that I've seen shows two-barrel pallets. Four-barrel pallets have a better centre of gravity,' he said.

                                                                      / / / / /

                                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                                        I expect they are a little safer. Thank you.

                                                          2. re: GH1618

                                                            <<Many structures were damaged, but they were old, poorly built (for an earthquake zone) structures, such as those made of brick, or newer but poorly engineered structures>>

                                                            Sounds like you're arguing hypothetically about the Richter scale but haven't actually seen the extent of the damage. Are you just looking at news photos and videos?

                                                            What you're describing and what I'm seeing are different things. You do know that seismically-retrofitted buildings were damaged, right? Not just older buildings in need of retrofitting. And that bolted down, strapped down tanks, equipment, etc. worked loose during the quake and aftershocks?

                                                            This is not to say that you don't have engineering expertise and insight, only that it's a good idea to see actual damage among different structures (i.e., have more info) before engaging in this type of hypothetical argument.

                                                            That being said, better barrel storage racks/systems would be an improvement.


                                                            I'm sure some of improvements described in the SacBee article, and smarter earthquake designs overall, will happen now.

                                                            But as zin1953/Jason was saying, not everyone equidistant from the epicenter, with the same barrel racks, suffered the same damage. So many other variables were at play -- the shifting of the soil/land, even the directional facing of the building, since it appears the quake's torsioning had a direction.

                                                            BTW, despite good guesses, we still don't know the exact fault or the type of quake. Yet to be determined.

                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                That map is good for showing the general location in south Napa/the Carneros region. Unfortunately, it doesn't show the suspected fault line in detail, or the type of fault -- still a mystery, currently.

                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                    "Damage is localized in the region surrounding Napa due to the rupture directivity to the north-west. River valley sediments in Napa Valley likely contributed to the amplification of shaking around Napa."
                                                                    Structures built on the river plain, or worse on artificial fill, would have felt stronger shaking than anything in the surrounding hills. Think, for example, of damage in the Marina district in the 1989 quake and I880 in Oakland.

                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      "Damage is localized in the region surrounding Napa..."

                                                                      That's not accurate.

                                                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                        It depends on what you mean by "region." USGS looks at the entire earth.

                                                                    2. re: GH1618

                                                                      A fault with a name I've never before heard of (and I've studied California geology) has been identified as the source of this latest quake. I'll keep looking for more reports.

                                                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                        From the USGS -- http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article....

                                                                        Update on the Magnitude 6 South Napa Earthquake of August 24, 2014
                                                                        Released: 8/25/2014 3:03:16 PM

                                                                        Contact Information:
                                                                        U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
                                                                        Office of Communications and Publishing
                                                                        12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
                                                                        Reston, VA 20192

                                                                        Yesterday at 3:20 AM local time, the northern San Francisco Bay Area was struck by the largest earthquake to impact the Bay Area since the 1989 M6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake. Yesterday’s earthquake appears to have ruptured on or just west of mapped traces of the West Napa Fault, the most seismically active of the faults mapped between the longer Rodgers Creek Fault on the west and the Concord-Green Valley Fault to the east. USGS has named the earthquake the “South Napa earthquake.”

                                                                        Yesterday’s M6.0 earthquake caused significant damage in south Napa County. It occurred in the broad zone of deformation that accommodates the relative motion of the North American and Pacific Plates. The 2000 M5.0 Yountville earthquake occurred on the West Napa Fault and also damaged Napa. The 1898 M6.3 Mare Island earthquake occurred in the vicinity of yesterday’s earthquake.

                                                                        >>> EDIT <<<

                                                                        Damage is localized in the region surrounding Napa due to the rupture directivity to the north-west. River valley sediments in Napa Valley likely contributed to the amplification of shaking around Napa.

                                                                        Yesterday, USGS and California Geological Survey (CGS) geologists mapped surface rupture produced by the earthquake from the epicenter NNW at least 10 km (6 miles) on a previously mapped strand of the West Napa Fault. At that point the surface rupture may have jumped eastward about half a mile toward Napa and extended NNW another few miles along a previously unmapped strand of the West Napa Fault. USGS and CGS geologist continue to conduct field reconnaissance to refine these interpretations and to look for additional surface rupture. The surface ruptures show a northward shift west of the West Napa fault of about two inches.

                                                                        >>> The release continues. <<<

                                                                        / / / / /

                                                                        1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                          "U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson,... said that while Napa suffered the worst of it, there also was significant damage about 17 miles south on Mare Island in Vallejo, a former naval shipyard "

                                                                          A couple of sources mention a 2000 Yountville earthquake that also shook the Napa river sediments.


                                                  2. re: zin1953

                                                    Here's a link to the apparent supplier of that rack system:


                                                    There's a video under "Seismic Support System" which shows it in action in a simulated earthquake. Note that the SSS is a rolling support which is placed at the base of a pile of racks. The racks alone won't do the job. I can't tell from the photograph whether the SSS was used or not.

                                                    I wouldn't want to be in a room with those barrels during an earthquake. This rack system could easily be made safer by securing the racks with web straps:


                                                  3. This is CA State Hwy 121 . . . crack goes across the highway and through the adjoining vineyard.