$100 Million Fire

After the expensive fire at the Frank-Rombauer warehouse in 2000, most vintners have checked out potential storage space for their wine very carefully. That’s why it’s especially devastating to learn of the $100 million fire at Wine Central Services warehouse on Mare Island in Vallejo. This warehouse was supposed to have up-to-date alarm systems and other protection, though the reports on sprinklers are mixed.

Many local vintners lost a substantial portion of their wine inventory in the fire, including Viader, Frazier, ZD, Marilyn Wines, Tres Sabores and Long Meadow Ranch.

Delia Viader says almost all her 2003 Viader wine production was lost plus all her library of 2000 Viader and 2001 Viader. All that’s left are the magnums and the few cases of 375ml bottles of 2003 Viader blend. The entire production of 2003 750 ml bottles of Viader had been transferred to Wines Central to be labeled by Ryan McGee’s services at that warehouse.

The inventory of Marilyn Wines Velvet Collection wines, both the 2002 and 2003 vintages, was also destroyed. None of the other Marilyn Wines (Marilyn Merlot, Marilyn Cabernet and Norma Jeanne) were in storage at Mare Island and are not affected.

At Tres Sabores, Julie Johnson is pretty philosophical: “If it turns out that I’ve lost my 2003 vintage and part of my 2002, so be it,” she says. “There are some really lovely 2004 wines ready and waiting to be sprung from their barrels in the cave.”

Co-owner Ted Hall says virtually all of Long Meadow Ranch’s bottled inventory was at Wine Central including 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002 Sangiovese and 2003 Ranch House Red, and the winery’s entire library collection starting with its inaugural 1994 vintage. Fortunately, its 2003 and 2004 vintage wines were in our caves at the winery.

Long Meadow will initiate some new programs shortly that may help soften the blow. To help sustain momentum, it will launch its first futures program for consumers in coming months. Co-owner Laddie Hall says the ranch is expecting an excellent olive harvest later this fall and plans a grand opening of its Rutherford Gardens property on March 8.

She also hopes to expand their wine club to a broader “ranch” club in the spring and is contemplating a 20-page spring catalogue featuring the full array of products from Long Meadow Ranch to continue to demonstrate the its diversified approach to agriculture.

For more news from the Napa Valley, go visit www.napalife.com

Published on October 17, 2005

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