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Earthquake Proof Your Wine

Written by Madeline Puckette

Damages in Napa after the earthquake hit on Sunday morning, August 24th, 2014, had everyone scrambling. The earthquake couldn’t have had worse timing: right during the start of harvest. As safety was a top priority in the hours following the quake, now everyone is wondering

Is my wine okay?!

Sadly, there was bad news for many wineries in the region:

Napa Earthquake hits Napa Barrel Care 2014

@LagierMeredith Napa Barrel Care, where thousands of barrels are stored, including ours.

Red Napa wines from the previous vintage were in barrel and they tumbled to the ground. What’s worse, the 2013 vintage was a record breaking year for quality and volume.


@DavidSilverOak Earthquake at @SilverOak

See more photos of #napaquake on twitter.

How Earthquake Proof is Your Wine?

Today’s wine racks aren’t designed to protect your wine collection during an earthquake. In fact, they often fare much worse than just leaving your wine packed up in a box. If you’re concerned and need an earthquake proof wine rack, here are a few tips:

locking wine racks

  • Use Cardboard Wine Boxes: Keep wine stored in wine boxes in an enclosed space (like a locker or closet) or stack them no more than 2 cases high.
  • Secure Your Current Racks: Secure your wine racks to the wall and place the bottles with the punt facing out, then wrap each row with 1-inch nylon webbing placing access clips on the front to access the wine.
  • Earthquake Proof Wine Racks: Design and build your own angled wooden racks or buy metal wine racks with locking doors.
  • Keep Wine Low: The closer the wine is to the floor, the less likely it is to break when it falls.
  • Use Locking Doors: Make sure your wine fridge or wine racks have doors that latch or lock.

Feel free to use this concept to create a safer wooden wine rack.

Get Wine Insurance

If you have a decent sized wine collection, then you might want to consider wine insurance.

If you get a policy for a small collection, expect to spend less than $1 per $100 of wine. If you have a large collection worth over $100,000, then expect to pay around $450/year. Either way, if you have home owner’s or renter’s insurance, look into your policy to verify that it covers wine. If you can’t get an addendum to your insurance to cover your wine collection, seek out a specialist in wine insurance such as

Also, it’s good to know that quality professional wine storage facilities generally offer insurance with their service.

Are You in an Earthquake Prone Area?

Earthquake risk areas zones in the US
Find out more at

If you live on the west coast of the United States, you are definitely in an earthquake prone area. Otherwise, check out this image of seismic zones around the world.

Written byMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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