WINTER WEATHER UPDATE: Messy conditions to impact Thanksgiving travel

Some Napa Valley wineries hit hard by earthquake

Napa Valley vintners woke up to a lot of broken bottles Sunday morning.

The 6.1-magnitude earthquake that struck Northern California early Sunday and sent more than 100 people to the hospital also dealt a blow to the region’s noted wine industry.

Silver Oak Winery owner David Duncan spent the morning with staff who showed up on their day off, cleaning up hundreds of broken wine bottles that fell off the shelves. “Those bottles were very unique,” he said and worth hundreds of dollars.

Duncan said he still planned to open the winery Sunday, traditionally a popular day for wine tours.

Signorello Estate took to social media to announce the Napa winery would be closed Sunday.

“Due to the earthquake this morning and subsequent power outage, Signorello Estate will be closed today,” according to its Facebook page. “Please contact our concierge to reschedule any appointments today.”

Napa’s Etude Wines was also closed Sunday, and its tasting room voicemail stated that the winery hoped to be cleaned up in time to reopen Monday.

Most of the valley is operating normally, Napa City Manager Mike Parness said at a Sunday afternoon 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.

“The damage is in isolated locations, the issues are significant, but we’re on it and it’s getting better,” he said. “Conditions will be vastly improved over the next few days as we get on top of this.”

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome, 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.

It’s not yet clear how many of the region’s vintners were affected, said Napa Valley Vintners association spokeswoman Cate Conniff.

While there are no reports of any of the trade group’s 500 members being injured, the association is reaching out to members to see whether they need help finding shelter, reporting gas leaks, assessing the structural integrity of their homes and businesses and the extent of damage to their wineries, Conniff told CNN.

“It’s so early in the assessment process,” she said. “Our primary concern is making sure everyone is safe and well.”

While Visit Napa Valley tourism bureau says that most businesses are open as usual, the group noted that some historic downtown Napa businesses had been damaged and 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 and we look forward to seeing you soon!”

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