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Earthquake Proofing Your Cellar

September 05, 2014

Earthquake Proofing Your Cellar

On the morning of August 24th, 2014, the most powerful earthquake to hit the San Francisco Bay Area in over two decades struck less than 10 miles south of the city of Napa. Fortunately no lives were lost in this devastating earthquake, but the damage to homes, historical buildings, infrastructure, and the area’s world famous wineries will take years to repair. The 2014 harvest had just begun, but with the 2013 vintage still in barrels and many wineries still waiting to release wines from the highly anticipated 2012 vintage, the damage to the wine industry in the Napa and Sonoma valleys could have been crippling. While many wineries did experience quite a bit of loss, it could have been much worse. Even the hardest hit wineries were up and running just a few days later and moving forward with the 2014 harvest.

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This earthquake serves as a reminder to those living in earthquake prone areas to earthquake proof every area of their homes including the wine cellar. There are a few steps that can be taken to protect your prized collection in the event that "the big one" hits in your area.  


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Anchor All Wine Racks
Anchor your wine racks to the wall to ensure that they are secure and will not fall over in the event of violent shaking. All wine racks will have specific instructions for wall anchoring. For Apex Modular Racks, simply fasten the rack to the wall through the back spacebar using eight 2-1/2" screws. For added stability, ensure that at least two of the screws are inserted directly into the wall studs. Use drywall anchors for screws that are not secured to a stud.

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Racking Choice
Consider racking that will allow you to store wine in boxes or crates. Pack the boxes with packing foam to keep the bottles from breaking in the event that the boxes fall from their position.

               

 
Bottle Placement
Place the more expensive and prized bottles towards the bottom of the rack. Wine bottles are extremely durable (particularly true of the “punt” or bottom of the bottle) and will likely survive a fall from a low height. However, wine placed near the top of the rack may not be able to handle a fall of several feet.

Straps
One of the most effective ways of keeping your wine from sliding out of its place during an earthquake is to secure each bottle with some kind of strap. There are a number of different types of straps available for purchase as well as a few DIY options.

 
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Decorative Rugs
Most wine cellars are built with hardwood or tile flooring. Although these types of flooring make for a beautiful cellar, they do not provide falling wine bottles with a soft landing. Place decorative rugs at the base of your wine racks to act as a “crash pad” in the event that some of your wine bottles fall from the rack.

 

Locking Doors
Another option is to keep some of your more prized wines in a locking wine cabinet or wine jail. The locking doors on these storage solutions will keep your wine from sliding out of position and plummeting to the ground. Cabinet doors may also be added to custom cellar projects. 

           

Earthquakes are a part of life for those living in earthquake prone areas. The same fault activity that caused the Napa earthquake is also responsible for the diverse soil that makes Napa Valley one of the greatest areas in the world for growing wine grapes. It is important to always be prepared and to safeguard as much as possible against these disasters. Contact an Apex agent today to learn more about how you can make your cellar more secure.
 
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