Kent Rosenblum, an Appreciation

Kent Rosenblum

Kent Rosenblum (Click for larger image)

I just heard that Kent Rosenblum passed away on September 5, 2018. Mr. Rosenblum, founder of the eponymous Rosenblum Cellars, became famous for zinfandels, sourcing grapes from all over Northern California. But his real fame should be starting the warehouse winery movement.

In 1978, Kent opened his winery on the north end of the island of Alameda, just across an estuary from Oakland. The main feature of that area is the Alameda Naval Air Station. It was an industrial area and, clearly, no grapes were grown there. Instead, he expanded the practice of sourcing grapes from various growers.

Today we take warehouse wineries almost for granted. One of our favorites, Siduri, was started in 1994. Carol Shelton opened her winery in 2000. William and Jack Salerno started Manzanita Creek in 1996. Interestingly both Ms. Shelton and Manzanita Creek have a fondness for zinfandel. Siduri, of course, produces some of the finest pinot noirs anywhere.

[pullquote]California has lost yet another pioneer of our industry. Robert Mondavi brought science to winemaking. Ernest Gallo understood marketing and showed us the way in that field. Kent Rosenblum gets all the credit for rediscovering Zinfandel and bringing it to its current popularity.[/pullquote]

I was fortunate to be part of a group that had lunch with Kent about 15 years ago. He was delightful, sharing with us tales of his experience in the wine industry. In his earlier life, he was a veterinarian. He was famous for producing Chateau La Paws, proceeds of which were donated to animal related causes.

In 2008 Diageo made the Rosenblums an offer they couldn’t refuse. With some trepidation, they sold the winery. Today Diageo has turned Chateau La Paws into its own label, producing three different wines.  The winery supports the North Shore Animal League of America (NSALA), the largest no-kill animal rescue group in the country.

NSALA LOGO

(Click for larger image)

Over lunch, Kent also told a story relevant to wine economics. He said that you could take a tanker full of grape juice from Australia, bring it to the U.S., ferment the grape juice, and ship it back to Australia at a total cost of about five cents a gallon. And remember, this was quite a few years ago. Shipping costs are even lower today.

Chateau La Paws

Chateau La Paws bottles

Chateau La Paws bottles (click for larger image)

Writing at IHeartDogs.com, Kristina Lotz describes the relationship between Chateau La Paws and NSALA.

“NSALA’s no-kill efforts and emphasis on education and advocacy align seamlessly with our passion points at Chateau La Paws Wines – we love our furry friends just as much as we love our wine,” says Chateau La Paws.

As a testament to this, their wine labels feature rescue dogs from NSALA.

“We worked closely with NSALA to identify the 28 rescue dogs featured on the label of each varietal,” says Chateau La Paws. “Our goal was to assemble a varied mix of breeds and ages to showcase the expansive selection of loveable pets that may be available in shelters across the country.”

But Chateau La Paws has a much longer history. The Wine Spectator took note of the Rosenblum’s charitable activities in 2007:

Yet another reason to like Rosenblum. The winery’s proprietors, Kent and Kathy Rosenblum, have joined the trend of vintners using their wines to benefit their favorite charity for those on four legs. Starting this year, $6 from the sale of each case of Rosenblum’s Chateau La Paws wines benefits Paws with a Cause, a national organization that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities. Sales of Chateau La Paws Côte Du Bone Roan California ($14), a Syrah blend, and Chateau La Paws Côte Du Bone Blanc California, a Viognier blend ($14), have thus far generated $21,378 for Paws with a Cause. Although the wine’s name seems tailor-made for the charity, the Chateau La Paws name was in existence long before any charity connection was made. Rosenblum began making the wine in the ’90s after Kent and Kathy took a trip to La Paz (pronounced “la paws”), Mexico. “We were joking around about putting paws on a [wine] label and calling it La Paws as a fun tie-in to [my veterinary background]” said Kent. That “paws” pun morphed into two wines, which now have a combined production of about 11,000 cases.

In my time I drank several bottles of these wines. They were exactly what you would expect: quaffable and very tasty. Notably, the 2002 Côte du Bone Roan San Francisco Bay scored a respectable 85 points and made Wine Spectator’s list of 50 of California’s new red wine values in 2004. The 2002 Amador County zinfandel also made this list, scoring slightly better at 86 points. And the Rosenblum zinfandel also made the list giving Kent three of the 50 best values in California rents for that year.

Wine spectator Chateau La Paws
Wine spectator Chateau La Paws Zinfandel
Wine spectator zinfandel

Exploring the Wine Spectator archives, the earliest release of Château La Paws that I could find was 1997:

Other Rhône reds include the silky-textured Mourvèdre (pronounced mohr VED dra and formerly known in California by its Spanish name, Mataro) and Counoise (pronounced coon-WAHZ), a lesser-known grape whose wine is soft and fruity. Mourvèdre was planted throughout Northern California in the late-1800s, and some of the old vineyards survive, producing intensely flavored, supple wines such as Rosenblum Contra Costa County Chateau La Paws Côte du Bone 1997 (88, $10). Dark-colored and somewhat tannic Petite Sirah has also been grown in California since before Prohibition. This cross between Syrah and Peloursin grapes was created in France in the late 19th century, but is hardly seen there today.

I suspect the label goes back even further, but my time for this project is limited.

History

The San Francisco Chronicle in their appreciation of Kent ‘s life recounted the families early history and their migration into winemaking:

Kent Martin Rosenblum was born in Iowa in 1944 and grew up in Minnesota. “He always loved animals,” said Shauna Rosenblum. “He grew up reading ‘Dr. Dolittle.’ He communicated with animals like Dr. Dolittle did.” Kent Rosenblum met his wife, Kathy, at the University of Minnesota, where he was earning his veterinary degree and she was studying history. They married in 1969 and moved to Alameda two years later.

A passionate skier, Rosenblum joined the Berkeley Ski Club. In 1972, just for fun, the group bought a ton of grapes and divvied them up. Everyone made a small amount of wine, but “my dad’s was the only one that was remotely palatable,” Shauna Rosenblum said. The next year, the club tasked him with making all of the wine.

The Rosenblums, who had never had wine before moving to California, quickly fell in love with their new hobby. They made wine in their garage, drilling holes in the ceiling so that the tanks could fit inside. In 1978, they decided to launch a business, initially using the Dead End Bar in West Oakland as their winery.

“Things kept chugging along, but they weren’t making a profit,” Shauna Rosenblum said. Rosenblum was still working as a full-time veterinarian at Providence Veterinary Hospital in Alameda, where he continued to work through the late 1990s. After Shauna Rosenblum’s birth in 1983, Kathy told her husband that if they weren’t making a profit by the next year, they would have to abandon the winery.

But then something unexpected happened. Rosenblum purchased some Zinfandel grapes from George Hendry, a Napa Valley grower, in 1984, and it turned out to be the wine that changed their course forever. It won Best of Show at wine competitions and earned outstanding scores from critics.

“That launched them into stardom,” Shauna Rosenblum said. That year, she said, they made a $250,000 profit.

There was no intention of selling the brand. But when Diageo approached the Rosenblum family in 2008, “they offered them too much money to say no,” Shauna Rosenblum said. It was a bitter loss for her father, but Shauna Rosenblum said he was also excited by the prospect of starting over. “By that point, he’d been doing much less winemaking than he wanted to,” she said.

That year, father and daughter started Rock Wall Wine Co. Although Shauna Rosenblum runs the business and the winemaking, Rosenblum remained active in the winery until his death. He had recently taken on a new vineyard site in Sonoma County, Maggie’s Vineyard, and was excited to sell fruit from its 130-year-old Zinfandel vines to winemaker friends this year — including Jeff Cohn, his longtime winemaking partner at Rosenblum Cellars.

“All we want now is to do him proud,” said Shauna Rosenblum, who spoke on the phone from the Rock Wall winery, where harvest was under way. “I know that he would want me to be here making the best wine possible today.”

Rosenblum is survived by his wife, Kathy; daughters, Shauna and Kristen; brother, Roger; sister, Pamela; and granddaughter, Skylar.

Rock Wall Wine Company

Shauna immediately took over the presidency of Rock Wall. She continues her dad’s heritage of making zinfandel but also produces 41 other wines. And you could do no better than the view from the deck above her winery. Looking north toward the Bay Bridge you can see parts of the skylines of San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.

Rock Wall view

Rock Wall view (Click for larger image)

In a recent feature in the San Francisco chronicle, Shauna describes the transition:

“I thought I was an adult before,” she says. But suddenly, she had to take up tasks that were completely new to her, all at once: dealing with the city of Alameda for permitting issues (she’s trying to get permission to put up a walkway of murals), negotiating with insurance agents, managing the farming of vineyards that her father had owned or leased. She even became the de facto facilities manager and learned how to patch a roof leak by herself.

She’s embraced this new era with some new, and even unorthodox, business decisions. She started by cutting off her wine distribution in all but three states. “I was losing $19 a case on distributed wine,” she explains, since distributors take a cut of the final price. But she suspected that Rock Wall might be able to sell everything itself, without the help of wholesale, through its tasting room and its 4,000-person wine club. (She sends every wine club member a 50 percent discount coupon on their birthday.) Her suspicion proved correct. “I was able to trim over $500,000 in expenses over the last 10 months,” the new president says proudly.

Shauna Rosenblum

Shauna Rosenblum

Conclusion

California has lost yet another pioneer of our industry. Robert Mondavi brought science to winemaking. Ernest Gallo understood marketing and showed us the way in that field. Kent Rosenblum gets all the credit for rediscovering Zinfandel and bringing it to its current popularity.

 

 




California Fire Donation Resources

Woolsey Fire

Woolsey Fire (click for larger image)

It was just over a year ago that fires swept through northern California wine country.  We posted a link to various resources.  Now the fires are back.  The two largest are the Camp Fire in Butte County and the Woolsey Fire in Malibu.  There are many others.  Normally the winter rains would have started by now.  Not this year, our bad luck.  This is our very unofficial guide to California fire donation resources.

Camp Fire

Camp Fire (click for larger image)

If you’re not familiar with California geography, CALFIRE has an excellent interactive map.

People have been asking how they can help.  As of 6 pm Sunday November 11, many locations have run out of space for donations of food, blankets, and other goods.  We advise giving money, the most fungible of all products.

The list below is actually a meta-list.  These are four articles that are from reputable sources that list ways you can help.  Assistance in any form is appreciated.

Refinery 29 has the most comprehensive list.

The Sacramento Bee has a good list, focus on the Camp fire.

KTLA in Los Angeles is a good source for the Woolsey fire.

The Orange County Register is also very good.




California Wine Country Fire Resources

[Updated 21 October 2017 12:25 GMT-8]

Here are some resources via the Palo Alto JCC:

https://my.jewishfed.org/emergency/north-bay-wildfire-emergency-fund

https://campnewman.org/support-newman/newmanstrong/

[Updated 13 October 2017 18:25 GMT-8]

As you undoubtedly know, Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino counties are experiencing many wildfires. A few wineries have burned to the ground. In the north part of Santa Rosa the Fountaingrove Inn, Hilton Sonoma Wine Country Inn, the Round Barn historic building, and a Trader Joe’s are no more. Thankfully, the Siduri winery has survived so far. We have no word on Belden Barns, but there is a fire in the Bennett Valley below their Sonoma Mountaintop location.

There are two parts to this article. First I’ll give you fire information resources that I believe are fairly up-to-date and accurate. Second, I’ll post links to specific, local relief organizations. I have to add that some members of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance are donating $1 per bottle purchased to several relief organizations.

News Sources

Fire Information Phone Numbers from CalFire

Fire Information Phone Numbers from CalFire (click for larger version)

A few folks on Twitter are tweeting frequently with updates about the fire. I’ve compiled a public list of those I believe are reliable here. This is a Twitter list meaning you can read the timeline directly or look at it by list member. You may need a Twitter account for this.

Bob Redell is covering the fires for NBC bay area.

The Wine Business website is a great source for information about wineries and vineyards damaged or destroyed.

Zip code search via @Nixle

The Napa Valley Vintners Association is regularly updating their web page devoted to fire coverage.

CalFIRE is the official agency running the public effort.

The Wine Spectator

Mainstream media: San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury-News

How You Can Help

Coffey Park is a neighborhood in northern Santa Rosa

Coffey Park is a neighborhood in northern Santa Rosa. This is all that’s left.

Some members of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance are donating $1 per bottle purchased to several relief organizations.

A good, comprehensive list of things you can do to help is at 7×7

Via Amy Lieberfarb,

 




Jack Creek Cellars Shows Why Wine Clubs Are Good

[pullquote]We need to join their wine club right now. In a few years that will be the only way to get their wine.[/pullquote]

If memory serves, we first visited Jack Creek Cellars in 2006. After tasting their wine, Norma whispered this→

Norma was off by a few years. A few days ago, an e-mail arrived. Buried in a footnote at the end was the announcement that starting in 2016 the club would be closed. An inquiry to Brette Womack, Jack Creek’s general manager (for lack of a better title) brought forth the full press release. They are also closing their tasting room and will do tastings by appointment only on the first Saturday of each month.

Jack Creek Cellars shows why wine clubs are good. As a member you support your favorite wineries. And in many cases you get exclusive access to a few wines, events, and, of course, priority in the tasting room. And, if the winery is successful, you also get continued access to their wine!

Tony with Doug Kruse at Jack Creek Cellars wine clubs

Tony with Doug Kruse at Jack Creek Cellars

Doug and Sabrina Kruse continue to make excellent wine and serve as wonderful hosts to wine club events. Here’s part of the press release:

We are very grateful that our wine club has successfully grown via word of mouth, to the point that we now must put a cap on it in order to continue to provide wine to you, our members. At the end of 2015 the Wine Family will be closed to new members and a wait list will be started. New members will be added as space opens up, or we have enough wine to welcome new friends.

Along with this, we will be closing our tasting room in order to preserve enough wine for our Wine Family in the coming years. In lieu of this year’s very lean harvest and our current inventory, we are planning ahead and feel this is the best way we can serve our current members.

Starting January 2nd, 2016 we will be open for appointments the first Saturday of each month only, and look forward to making this tasting experience fun and memorable.

So there it is. Better sign up for that wine club right now!




University of Burgundy Launches Free Online Wine Course

Exciting breaking news! The Université de Bourgogne in Dijon is offering a free, online wine course starting May 21. There are a few glitches in the registration process which I’ll outline below. For now, let’s just say that if you’re following the instructions in this article and are on a Mac, use Firefox, not Safari.

Background

We learned about this course via Decanter.com. From their description:

The Open Wine University – Université de la Vigne et du Vin pour Tous – will offer the dual-language courses starting on 21 May 2015.

Course content has been put together by the main teaching staff of the Jules Guyot Wine and Vine Institute including Sandrine Rousseaux and Olivier Jacquet, with input from winemakers including Françoise Arpaillanges of Domaine Françoise Jeanniard in Pernand-Vergelesses.

The course covers subjects from viticulture, understanding terroir, tasting techniques and vinification, alongside the history and cultural importance of wine, and will be presented over five weeks in various formats from online seminars to videos-blogs and interactive tastings.

‘I am a graduate of oenology from the Jules Guyot Institute,’ Arpaillanges told Decanter.com. ‘So, I was happy to contribute to the course research. I gave background on understanding the different terroir and climats of Burgundy, and the historical basis for today’s vineyard locations. This will now be turned into parts of the teaching material, although I am not teaching directly myself.’

Links to registration and other information are available via Americans in France. Tip: right-click the link and select “open link in new tab.”

Registration Issues

The MOOC registration site has a few problems. First, don’t try to register with Safari unless you’re in one of the following countries:

Country List University of Burgundy Launches Free Online Wine Course

If you try to register as “Other Country” with Safari you won’t be able to type anything into the text box that opens. Save yourself some trouble and use Firefox instead. Here’s the form:

MOOC Registration Form University of Burgundy Launches Free Online Wine Course

Click the pull-down menu that lists MOOC providers. Relax — there aren’t all that many.

Pulldown List of MOOC Providers University of Burgundy Launches Free Online Wine Course

In fact, here’s the entire list of providers. Make the obvious choice.

List of MOOC providers University of Burgundy Launches Free Online Wine Course

Once you’ve clicked Université de Bourgogne you’ll need to click the Search button. The site is not up to date on php. Search will show this:

MOOC List for U. of Burgundy University of Burgundy Launches Free Online Wine Course

Click the obvious choice and you’ll see this:

Course Home Page University of Burgundy Launches Free Online Wine Course

Course Home Page

 

Be careful! You’re signed in. Don’t click the “Enroll” button unless you’re fairly sure you want to enroll.

As of May 13, 2015, 2:00 GMT, the page shown above is only available in French. Here’s a link that will show you the page using Google translate.

Read the description, look at the schedule, study the syllabus, review the instructors’ backgrounds, then decide if you want to enroll. If so, all you do is click Enroll:

Enroll! University of Burgundy Launches Free Online Wine Course

Enroll!

 

Unfortunately, I have to work on May 21, so I will miss the opening session. I hope the folks putting this together will supply podcasts. Stay tuned.




Pennsylvania Declares War on Wine

[Updated September 22, 2o14 with additional information from a friend who lives in Pennsylvania.]

We interrupt our regular reviewing with a public service announcement. First, you need to know that in Pennsylvania alcoholic beverages can only be purchased in stores owned and operated by the state.  This can lead to bizarre situations such as a particular wine only being available in a few stores. This is a case of Pennsylvania declares war on wine.  According to an article at Reason.com,

Earlier this year, after a months-long undercover investigation, Pennsylvania state police agents served a warrant on the home of Arthur Goldman, an attorney, and his wife, Melissa Kurtzman.

So just what was it that led police to target the homeowners? Cocaine? Marijuana? Meth? Raw milk?

None of the above. This bizarre and infuriating case involves no illicit substance whatsoever. It’s a case about wine. Legally purchased wine, at that.

Goldman and Kurtzman are now fighting the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in court. They argue the state’s seizure of more than 2,400 bottles of fine wine is unconstitutional and are seeking to force Pennsylvania to return the entire collection. The state, on the other hand, has designs on destroying the wine.

The couple are wine lovers.  They regularly have wine delivered to their New Jersey residence.  This is perfectly legal in the more enlightened state of New Jersey.  As a favor to friends Goldman and Kurtzman began ordering wine on their behalf.  They did this at their cost, not making a profit.  (As a side note, Mr. Goldman is an attorney who is obviously working hard to improve the public image of his profession.)

In 2013 the couple bought a home in Malvern, Pennsylvania.  However, they continued to use the New Jersey house as their primary residence.

At this point, the absolute lunacy of Pennsylvania’s alcohol laws becomes clear.  You can order wine to be shipped to Pennsylvania, but it must be shipped to one of the state stores.  And you can’t order any wine that the state stores already carry.

[pullquote]add a $4.50 handling fee, Pennsylvania’s 18% liquor tax, 6% sales tax (and 2% sales tax in Philadelphia or 1% Allegheny counties.[/pullquote]

Exactly what a Philadelphia resident should do if the wine they want is only available in a Pittsburgh store remains in question. And when you pick up your wine →

More from the Reason article:

… fast forward to March 2013. It was then that, while Goldman’s and his wife’s wine collection slept soundly at their New Jersey home, an “anonymous complainant reported” Goldman to Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BCLE) for allegedly selling wine in Pennsylvania without a license.

It’s unclear who the informant is or what they claimed Goldman had done. But that same month, an undercover BCLE officer “infiltrated… Mr. Goldman’s mailing list.” The officer then made a buy (to use undercover cop parlance), joining in one of Goldman’s pooled orders from California.

This officer was soon joined on the list by another undercover officer, who posed as his stepdaughter, and still another officer, who posed as the second officer’s fiance. These officers also joined in the pooled orders.

Continuing with his generosity, Goldman shared glasses of his own wine with the undercover officers in his home. He gave them a tour of his wine cellar, which by July 2014 was located in his Malvern home, now the marital residence.

Testing the limits of that generosity, the officers concocted a story about looking for a special wedding gift of wine. Though Goldman wasn’t in the business of selling wine, he made an exception, selling to undercover agents a total of four or five bottles—at cost—from his personal collection.

Soon afterwards, on January, 6, 2014, Pennsylvania police raided the home and seized more than 2,400 bottles of wine. They charged Goldman was an unlicensed wine dealer who made purchases in contravention of state law, and that his alleged crimes required Pennsylvania to destroy the entirety of the couple’s wine collection—worth an estimated $160,000.

 If you’re as outraged as me, I urge you to write Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett at Governor@pa.gov or call 717-787-2500. (Gov. Corbett lost his bid for re-election.  As of January 20, 2015 address those e-mails to Governor-elect Tom Wolf.) S-mail to Governor Tom Corbett, 508 E-Floor Main Capitol, Harrisburg 17120

Update: Mr. Corbett is a Republican.  And Republicans have controlled both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature for at least a few years. They tried to eliminate the state monopoly stores. But the stores’ employees are unionized.  And the lobbying was intense.  To the everlasting shame of the Republican party, Pennsylvania knuckled under.  The law failed.  And the wine Gestapo marches on.

Thanks to David Burge (@iowahawkblog) for tracking this story down. #oneman




The New Malibu Coast AVA Might Be DOA

[pullquote]In effect, the L.A. County Supervisors have told the Malibu wineries, “Drop dead.”[/pullquote]

The new Malibu Coast AVA might be DOA.  Today the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a far-reaching coastal plan that specifically prohibits planting new vineyards.  Existing vineyards with a valid permit are grandfathered in, but there are a few with no permits that may be forced to rip out their vines.

This is perhaps the ultimate in NIMBY behavior.  Here’s a quote from the background story in the Los Angeles Times:

L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said the regulations would ensure that the coastal mountains don’t become suburbanized, like those to the north in Calabasas or Agoura Hills.

“This plan makes sure that development doesn’t dictate the land,” he said, calling the vineyard ban “a very small tail that’s not even wagging the dog.”

Yaroslavsky dismissed claims that he targeted the wine community, saying the decision is really about the greater good.

“We’re being guided by science, not by the politics,” he said. “I love vineyards. I love Cabernet. But I wouldn’t want it at the expense of the natural area.”

Hey, we love pinot noir and we know full well that the grapes have to be grown somewhere.  Supervisors that voted for this plan should be prohibited from consuming any wine.

Pegging the Irony Meter

Ironically, the Malibu Coast AVA regulation was finalized on August 18:

“T.D. TTB–121, Establishment of the Malibu Coast Viticultural Area, which establishes the approximately 44,590-acre “Malibu Coast” viticultural area in portions of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties in California. This viticultural area includes the smaller, established Saddle Rock–Malibu and Malibu–Newton Canyon viticultural areas.

Both of these final rules are effective on August 18, 2014.”

Who says government can’t act fast?  Eight short days later the Supervisors told the wine industry to forget it.

Press Coverage

KPCC in Pasadena has a 30 minute segment that was aired just as the Supervisors were voting on the plan.  I stared at my radio in disbelief when one of the guests informed host Larry Mantle that it had passed.

And there’s more from today’s Los Angeles Times story on their website:

“The passage of the plan, known as a local coastal program, consolidates land use authority with the county and sets rules for future development in the coastal area near Malibu. Among the limits on future development is a ban on new vineyards. Permitted, existing vineyards would be allowed to remain.

Vineyard owners complained that the plan unfairly singles out their crop from other forms of agriculture.”

Indeed.  The previously quoted  Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky says, ““Vineyards are water suckers, there’s no question about it. … It would be irresponsible for this plan not to address that.”

So much for being guided by science.  Most vineyards get all the water they need from winter rains.  Even in a drought year like this, Napa and Sonoma wineries are not watering their vineyards.  Vitus vinifera needs to struggle to produce high-quality grapes.

Finally, here’s the reality faced by two vineyard owners who went into winemaking:

Although the proposed rule would prevent them from expanding, vineyards with Coastal Commission permits would be grandfathered in. Vintners who didn’t get those permits, however, might have to yank up their vines.

That’s the reality facing Dave and Ruth Gomez, who planted grapes on two slopes near their home 15 years ago.

Malibu Coast AVA

The official website of the ava is http://malibucoastava.com.   Here’s a map showing the area:

Malibu Coast AVA The New Malibu Coast AVA Might Be DOA

Malibu Coast AVA

And here’s a list of the members of the association.  We urge you to buy their wines. (Click the image to make it larger — and readable).

Malibu Coast Members The New Malibu Coast AVA Might Be DOA

Malibu Coast Members (click the image to enlarge it.)

 

 




Napa Quake

[Update August 26 12:30 pm.  Berryessa News has produced a Youtube video using an aerial drone.  The Trefethen winery is the subject.  A historic winery building, vintage 1886, was badly damaged.  Thanks to Youtube, you can see the video here.  Trefethen is one of the hardest-hit.  Buy a bottle of their wine!]

[Update August 25 11:30 am.  USA Today has a nice story with additional details.  KPCC in Pasadena ran a 30 minute segment that included Elizabeth Weise, the USA Today reporter for that story.  Wines and Vines has a story with additional industry-specific details.  Finally, kudos to Siduri’s Adam Lee (@SiduriWines) for relentlessly promoting this: Help our Napa friends out. #buyanapabottletonight http://t.co/sJvDXV9MCs.]

[Update August 24 6:45 pm. Forum for wineries needing assistance and those able to offer assistance.]

[Update August 24 6:30 pm.  The Red Cross has opened a second shelter in Napa.  Patch has the details.]

[Update August 24 6:20 pm.  W. Blake Gray has an article on wine-searcher.com that contains additional details.]

There was a 6.0 magnitude earthquake near Napa at 3:20 am Pacific Daylight Time on August 24. This article is to provide information about the Napa quake from local perspective. Latest report at 2:30 pm says 120 people were injured, three seriously.

How You Can Help

I always recommend donating to the local chapter of the American Red Cross.  In this case, it’s the Napa Valley Chapter.  Also, of course, buy some Napa wine.

The Official Word on the Napa Quake

First, damage seems to be limited to the southern Napa Valley southeast to Vallejo. The U.S. Geologic Survey maintains a crowdsourced “did you feel it?” map on their website. Here’s what it looked like around 1o am:

 

Napa Quake USGS Crowdsourced Map

USGS Crowdsourced Map

 

USGS also has a traditional seismic activity map:

Napa Quake USGS Shake Map

USGS Shake Map

Damage to Wineries and Wine-Related Businesses

To add insult to injury, a statue of Bacchus toppled at Ceja Vineyards:

Napa Quake Ceja Vineyards Bacchus Toppled

Ceja Vineyards Bacchus Toppled

The wine library at Scholium took a hit:

Napa Quake Scholium Library

Scholium Library

Barrels as pick-up-sticks at Matthiasson:

Napa Quake Matthiasson Barrel Jumble

Matthiasson Barrel Jumble

Most wineries that reported collapsed barrel racks also noted that the barrels were pretty much intact.  In a few cases, bungs popped out so there was some loss.  

This photo from the Silver Oak Winery has gone viral.

Napa Quake Silver Oak

Silver Oak

Retailers were hit hard:

[portfolio_slideshow include=”3718,3717,3708″]

Napa’s “newest wine bar, Cadet” estimates losses between $15,000 and $20,000 from wine inventory.

Napa Quake Cadet Wine Bar

Cadet Wine Bar

Damage to Houses and Office Buildings

Damage to houses and office buildings was extensive, especially in downtown Napa. (If you’re not familiar with the area, the city of Napa is actually not the center of wine activity in the Napa Valley. That honor goes to the nearby city of St. Helena.)

Napa Quake Kitchen Wreck

Kitchen Wreck

 

Napa Quake Chimney Wreck

Chimney Wreck

 

Napa Quake Chimney and Fence Wreck

Chimney and Fence Wreck

 

Napa Quake Crack

Crack Reported Ten Feet Deep

But Some People Found a Silver Lining

At least one skateboarder found a use for a buckled street:

Napa Quake Skateboarder

Skateboarder