Napa Quake Could Boost Valley Wines

By Kathryn Herr

Published 08/26 2014 12:01AM

Updated 08/26 2014 12:04AM

The impact from this week's earthquake on Napa's wineries could create new opportunities for Central Valley wine producers.
In particular, those that make specialty wines.

Peter Ficklin runs Ficklin Vineyards. A third generation winery in Madera that produces premium ports. They've been around since 1946.

"We still have some of the original bottles of the 1948s that my father made. The 51s, the 53s, vintage ports. And of course we're very careful of how those are stacked so we don't lose those in an earthquake," Ficklin said.

He says the wine industry has learned form other quakes, like Loma Prieta, that sent tremors through the valley.

"You've felt them here? Oh absolutely, absolutely. And they've made you a little nervous? Very nervous, yeah first thing you do is check the bins and make sure the barrels are secure," Ficklin said.

He has barrels and casks of win in two large buildings on the property. And rows and rows of bottles.
He's learned not to stack those bottles too high.

"They'll stack barrels six to eight high and we limit to three or four at the very most. And you get a lot of swaying motion during an earthquake and those top barrels will start to go over of course," Ficklin said.

Ficklin produces specialty wines. And some of their products are made for wineries in Napa.

"We specialize in ports and dessert wines. And so we help other wineries with their dessert wines and ports if they chose to have a wine like that in their program," Ficklin said.

Dessert wines can age for ten to thirty years. So wineries in Napa that lost that type of product will need time to return to the specialty wine business.

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