More Wine Warehouse Fire News and Thoughts
Wednesday’s massive fire at a wine storage warehouse will be remembered for a long time to come by many in the wine industry and those who treasure not just fine wine but the history of CA wine.
The blaze at Wines Central’s 240,000 square foot facility in Vallejo, California was the resting spot for a number of wineries’ current and future releases as well as "library wines", those older vintages not meant for sale for for posterity.
At this point, I’m aware of the following wineries that lost wines of one sort or another n the fire.
Trey Sabore, Whitehall Lane, Thackery, Livingston-Moffett, Von Strasser, Signorello, Frazier, Saintsbury, ZD, Justin Vineyards, Domaine La Due, Lehrer Family Vineyard, Tamayo Family Vineyards.
If anyone out there has updates on wineries that lost inventory feel free to post that information here.
It’s hard to feel worse for one winery over another. It’s tough, even with insurance kicking in, to have your product destroyed. In the wine industry you don’t just go manufacture more. You have to wait. Many wineries who lost their current or soon-to-be-released vintages will be out of the market place for a year or more. That means they lose cash flow as well as their places on retail shelves and wine lists.
But then there are wineries like Saintsbury, with whom I’ve done some work. It appears, based on what co-founder Dick Ward said in today’s San Francisco Chronicle and based on my chat with him, that most of their Library wines have been lost in the blaze. This won’t keep Saintsbury of the shelves anywhere or see their bottlings dropped from wine lists. However, the loss is really staggering for historic and sentimental reasons.
Saintsbury is one of California’s oldest great Pinot producers and champions of Carneros winemaking and is celebrating their 25th harvest this year. Dick Ward and David Graves began their quest to make great "Burgundian" wines in 1980. Each vintage they saved a certain number of cases of each wine for posterity as well as to be able to go back and evaluate how their winemaking efforts aged. It’s a common practice among serious and forward thinking vintners. Most of those Saintsbury Pinots dating back to the early and mid 1980s and forward to the present vintages were destroyed. The winery did keep a certain amount of back vintages at the winery, so all is not lost….just the bulk.
It’s hard to put a price on a bottle of 1985 Saintsbury Carneros Pinot Noir. Though I’m sure the insurance agency will do that, this figure can’t account for what is learned by tasting the wine.