(Hover over the photos above to see the captions)
Thank you for the overwhelming love, support and prayers we've received as a result of the 6.1 earthquake that recently shook our little corner of the world here in Napa last Sunday. First and foremost all four of us Buoncristiani brothers and our families are safe. Our homes were quite shaken up, especially Matt, Aaron's and our parent’s homes. We've had quite a mess to clean up, but none of us sustained any structural damage to our homes.
As for Buoncristiani Family Winery, that’s a different story. The two warehouses where we store all of our finished wine in bottle sustained no damage, and luckily we did not lose a single bottle of wine there! The Caves at Soda Canyon, our winemaking home dug deep into the hillside, didn't have a single bottle or barrel disturbed either. We were extremely fortunate in both regards.
On the less fortunate side, since only half of the Caves at Soda Canyon has been constructed yet, we have many overflow barrels at two different facilities in Napa, more than 200 to be exact. Both of these facilities sustained heavy damage. The small downtown winemaking facility (Walnut Street) we have been utilizing since 2001has been red-tagged, meaning no one is allowed to enter the building. The roof has collapsed. In fact the only thing holding the roof partially up is our stack of barrels (see photo above). I also had a good chunk of my personal wine library stored there that will probably be lost as well. Clearly I should have had far more dinner parties!
The other warehouse we utilize to store about 200+ barrels of ours, is Napa Barrel Care. They are home to barrels from close to 100 wineries in the valley, and of all the barrel houses I’ve seen, they’ve taken one of the hardest hits from this earthquake. I have hopes that several of our barrels have simply toppled over without breaking, but they expect the cleanup effort to take over a month. A huge heartfelt thank you to Mike Blom, Jorge Vargas, the staff at Napa Barrel Care and all the volunteers working tirelessly to recover the 15,000 barrels stored there.
Vintners Collective, a historic tasting room in downtown Napa that we and 15 other vintners call home has been red-tagged as well. The beautiful exterior stone façade that has graced the building since the late 1800s has cracked and crumbled all around it. I have not heard yet when it will re-open for tastings. In the meantime they still have many fabulous wines avilable for sale from their website. All our thoughts and prayers are with Garret, Kim and the entire staff at Vintners Collective as they try to rebuild.
We are just one of many wineries in Napa that have been hit by this earthquake. Far worse than us are the hundreds of people whose homes have cracked, shifted, collapsed or been red-tagged, meaning that they are no longer habitable. Many Napa residents have been displaced, including our dear friends Dave and Julie Guffy.
Many people have asked how they can help, and I truly thank you for your desire to assist the people of Napa in a time of need. There are several ways in which you can assist. The first, and easiest way, is to support all things Napa. Come visit us in Napa! Most of our businesses, hotels, world-class restaurants and wineries are open, including our own. Buy Napa wine – buy a bottle or two of Buoncristiani, Fontanella, Lagier Meredith, Guffy Family Wines or any bottle of your favorite wine from the many wineries in Napa. Several Napa wineries have taken a serious hit as a result of the earthquake, but the three family wineries just mentioned are worth pointing out as they are quite small and have sustained considerable damage.
Donate money – The Napa Valley Vintners, of which we are members, has established a fund to help families and businesses most in need. The Napa Valley Vintners themselves have pledged $10 million dollars, a spectacular start, however depending on the source the most recent estimate calculates the total damages and losses sustained could top $1 billion dollars. To make a tax-free monetary donation to the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund please click here.
In addition our friend and fellow winemaking colleague, Jason Moore from Modus Operandi has established a fund to assist the volunteers at Napa Barrel Care as well as other cellars in Napa. As I mentioned earlier, Napa Barrel Care is the barrel home for close to a hundred Napa Valley wineries. This fund supports all of the brave men and women who are volunteering to extract the 500+ pound barrels that have been strewn about. Monies raised will go toward providing lunches, dinners and childcare for the staff and volunteers. (I will be firing up the pizza oven with broken Buoncristiani barrels and bringing wood-fired pizzas to the crew as time permits.) To make a monetary donation to the Napa Earthquake Volunteers Fund please click here.
Thank you again to everyone for all of your kind words, thoughts and prayers. Truly, it’s business as usual at Buoncristiani and we look forward to having one of our wines grace your table sometime soon or hosting you in Napa on your next visit.
Thank you for your incredibly personal and detailed report on what happened to you and your operation. After Nate told me everyone was OK, I became interested in how the quake affected the wineries. Your blog post delivered that part of the story more personally and clearly than any coverage I've seen.
Thank you for sharing. Bravo!
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