Friends stayed at the Andaz Hotel less than a week before the quake hit. Now, more than three weeks later I finally returned from my trip to Napa to see for myself the damage. The first sign of the earthquake was cones on highway 12 marking where the earth split apart the highway into a deep crack. This has since been repaved.
Downtown still has a number of buildings boarded up or fenced off. But by numbers it looks like most businesses are back open. Bricks from the Goodman Library surprisingly still are all over the sidewalk – not yet cleaned up. The central post office is surrounded by chain link fence. The Andaz Hotel is still closed at the time of this post – this modern building has visual cracks up the side and pieces of its exterior have fallen off. Visually at least, it seems to have fared worse then even some of the historic buildings. Hopefully it will be back open again by November.
During a revisit of one winery just off from downtown, Page Cellars – we saw the power of the quake in action. It uplifted tables, turned over chairs and caused a huge pile of wine barrels – a number of which shows nasty cracks. Page estimates they lost 20% of their entire production during that minute of shaking. They are not alone – a number of wineries in and around Napa were hit pretty hard including various barrel storage facilities. Several wineries/tasting rooms had to close because of damage – Trefethen being among the hardest hit structurally – Hess Collection got hit fairly hard with lots of lost product. One small winery we talked to had to close down for tastings temporarily not because of any damage sustained but rather the county said his tanks were unsafe if an earthquake hit because they were not bolted down to the floor.
Even all the way up in Oakville the earthquake opened up cracks in the earth and released a “newly found” aquifers – several creeks that are normally completely dry in the summer months are now flowing with fresh very cold water. On a recent day around 100 degrees cooling down with some of this water was extremely refreshing! Finding the source up the creek some ways would be a great spot to bottle this “new” water!
And support the Napa Valley Rocks, a four-day event to help raise funds for quake victims – visit: www. napavalleyrocksweekend .com