NEW: This year's Napa grape harvest not damaged by earthquake
NEW: Some wineries re-opened Monday after cleaning up damage
Many wineries never had to close their doors
Call or check your winery's social media accounts before showing up
It’s harvest time in Napa Valley, and it appears that the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Northern California did not impact vineyards or the grapes on the vine, a local vintners’ association said.
The Sunday earthquake that sent more than 100 people to the hospital also sent wine barrels tumbling and wine bottles flying in the early morning hours. Yet a majority of region’s vineyards are open for visitors.
Some wineries suffered damage to their barrel storage areas, wine inventory and production equipment over the weekend, but “there were no reports of winery employees being injured by the earthquake,” according a statement by Napa Valley Vintners, an association of 500 area vintners.
Signorello Estate, which took to social media to announce the Napa winery would be closed Sunday, reopened Monday for business, an employee told CNN.
Napa’s Etude Wines stayed closed another day on Monday to clean up damage from the earthquake, but announced on its website that its tasting room would reopen on Tuesday.
“Weather throughout the growing season has been ideal and vintners are expecting yet another excellent vintage, the third year in a row in the region,” the association reported.
Vintners who have quake-damaged equipment or facilities can contact the association to find “temporary tanks and other production equipment to help them get through the next few weeks.”
Most of the valley is operating normally, Napa City Manager Mike Parness said at a Sunday news conference.
“I’ve been getting a lot of calls from people from outside the area that were planning on coming here, (who) are worried about it for fear this is some kind of disaster area, which means they can’t come here and enjoy the valley,” he said. “Conditions will be vastly improved over the next few days as we get on top of this.”
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who owns his own wineries, echoed that sentiment in an interview with CNN.
“I have a winemaker down the street from us – they were devastated. Dozens and dozens of their barrels collapsed,” he said. “My winery, for instance, no barrels collapsed.”
Parness encouraged visitors to check with their hotels and then make a judgment call about visiting. “Most of the places in the valley have not been impacted,” he said.
Tourists are key to Napa Valley’s economic health. The region’s nearly 3 million annual visitors generate some $1.4 billion yearly in direct tourism spending, according to the 2012 Napa Valley Economic Impact Study. The 13,409 travelers who visit daily together spend an average of $3.82 million.
While the Visit Napa Valley tourism office says that most businesses are open as usual, the group noted that some historic downtown Napa businesses had been damaged. The group is keeping a growing list of open businesses on its website, but officials also suggested calling first to confirm your plans.
“It appears the majority of the damage was centered on specific areas in the city of Napa,” the bureau said, in a press statement. “The regions around Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga seem to have experienced minimal damage and disruption.”
Everyone at Peju Winery, just north of Napa in Rutherford, made it through the earthquake without any injuries or damage, the company said.
“To all of our guests who are wondering, all of us at Peju Winery are fine,” according to Peju’s Facebook page. “Peju is open for business today (Sunday) and we look forward to seeing you soon!”