Earthquake in California's Napa Valley highlights safety threats from wine stacks

IndustriesAssociated Press

Napa Valley's earthquake has revived worries about a risk particular to wine country — falling wine barrels.

Vintners say thousands of wine barrels fell from their racks in the Aug. 24 earthquake that hit southern Napa County.

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Winery heads like Richard Ward of Saintsbury vineyard say many people would have been in harm's way if the 3:20 a.m. quake had hit at another time.

Winery seismic-engineering specialist Joshua Marrow says a simple change, like switching to a more stable kind of barrel rack, can help.

Vintner David Duncan of Napa's Silver Oak winery says he switched to the steadier rack years ago - and says that saved him tens of thousands of dollars for each unbroken wine barrel in the quake.