The magnitude 6.0 quake, the biggest to hit California's Bay Area
in 25 years, struck before dawn on Sunday near Napa, injuring more
than 200 people and damaging dozens of buildings in the picturesque
community northeast of San Francisco.
At least 49 buildings in Napa, a town of 77,000 residents, were
"red-tagged" as unsafe to enter, including the Napa Senior Center
and the local courthouse, and that figure was expected to rise as
additional structures were inspected, officials said.
The quake struck just as the grape-harvesting season was getting
under way in Napa County, a significant wine-producing area that
generates thousands of jobs in a region famed for its Cabernet
Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
The full extent of industry damage had yet to be assessed, but one
Napa winery spokesman said the quake would do little to harm what
was otherwise expected to be a superb 2014 vintage.
In Napa, a number of building facades crumbled in the historic
district, and numerous wine shops were strewn with broken bottles.
Most of the red-tagged buildings were damaged despite having been
retrofitted to better withstand quakes, officials told a news
Disaster modeling firm CoreLogic estimated that total insured
economic losses could range from $500 million to $1 billion, though
it acknowledged "a fair amount of uncertainty" around those numbers.
Roughly a quarter to half of that projection could come from
residential losses, CoreLogic said, noting that $1.8 billion in
insured claims were paid to policyholders after the magnitude 6.9
Loma Prieta earthquake struck San Francisco in 1989.
The Insurance Information Institute in New York likewise estimated
that insured quake damage would probably measure in the hundreds of
millions of dollars, although overall economic losses will likely
run several times higher.
That is because only about 6 percent of Napa area homes are covered
by earthquake insurance, said Robert Hartwig, president and
economist at the institute.
Parts of Napa's wine industry ground almost to a halt on Monday as
workers raced to clean up and salvage their product.
Managers at Napa Barrel Care, which stores product for a number of
area vintners, were busy siphoning up spilled wine and scrambling to
find barrels to store the spoils until they could disposed of, owner
Mike Blom said.
Behind him loomed a mountain of barrels, many shattered, that had
fallen over and piled up during the temblor, and the pungent odor of
fermenting wine hung in the air.
"It's a big mess right now," said Rick Ruiz, operations director for
the wine retailer TwentyFour wines, one of Blom's customers. He said
workers were wearing masks to protect from carbon monoxide
poisoning. "It's a logistical nightmare."
[to top of second column]
At Napa's Hess Collection winery, two 10,000-gallon wine storage
tanks had crumpled like tin cans, spilling the contents into a
courtyard usually open to visitors and staining the pavement red,
spokesman Jim Caudill said.
Chief marketing officer Derek Bromley said lost inventory included a
supply of 2013 Mount Veeder Cabernet that sells for $100 a bottle.
Also hard hit was the landmark, 19th-century wooden building that
houses the tasting room and offices of Trefethen Family Vineyards.
The first floor of the three-story building was shifted 3 to 4 feet
by the quake, spokesman Terry Hall said.
Despite damage on the premises, the timing of the quake helped
Trefethen and other wineries escape major production setbacks
because it struck after the 2013 vintage had been bottled and sent
off for delivery but before most of the grapes were ready to be
Hall said 2014 "is going to be a pretty spectacular vintage for the
No quake-related fatalities were reported, although more than 200
people suffered mostly minor injuries. A child who suffered multiple
fractures after a fireplace fell on him was among three people
seriously hurt, local battalion Fire Chief John Callahan said on
Six fires erupted, apparently from severed gas lines, including one
blaze that destroyed six mobile homes, he said.
Some 600 properties in town remained without water on Monday and
several streets were closed due to debris. Area public schools were
closed, but power was restored to some 70,000 homes and businesses
by midday on Monday, Pacific Gas & Electric spokesman Jeff Smith
The tremor was the largest earthquake to hit the Bay Area since the
Loma Prieta quake, which killed 63 people and caused $6 billion in
(Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles;
Additional reporting by Deepa Seetharaman and Anjali Athavaley in
San Francisco and Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Leslie Adler)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.