Economic cost of Napa earthquake reported to be close to $1bn

6.0-magnitude quake most severe to strike San Francisco Bay Area since 1989

A forklift is partially buried in some of the hundreds of earthquake-damaged wine barrels at the Kieu Hoang winery in Napa, California. Photograph: AP Photo/Eric Risberg

A forklift is partially buried in some of the hundreds of earthquake-damaged wine barrels at the Kieu Hoang winery in Napa, California. Photograph: AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 01:00

The earthquake that struck the Napa wine-making region of northern California on Sunday injuring dozens of people and devastating historic buildings is estimated to have cost $1 billion (€760 million) in damage.

Businesses and wine industry groups were still assessing the economic toll of Sunday morning’s 6.0-magnitude quake, the most severe to strike the San Francisco Bay Area since the destructive 6.9 tremor of 1989.

Four aftershocks were reported in the area yesterday morning, among at least 65 reported since Sunday, at close half the strength of the weekend quake in the area of northern California known for its world famous vineyards and wineries.

The US Geological Survey put the economic damage at close to $1 billion, though a spokeswoman for the USGS Earthquake Science Centre told the Los Angeles Times the cost is more likely to run to “several hundreds of millions” of US dollars.

The quake struck at the busiest time of year, during the tourism season and in the middle of the annual grape harvest.

The Napa Valley Vintners, which represents 500 wineries, said the quake did not affect vineyards or grapes on the vine and that the majority of the area’s wineries remained open for business.

“It is too early provide damage or loss estimates for wine, equipment or facilities,” the group’s spokeswoman Cate Conniff told local news outlet, Bay City News.

The quake is expected to cause some wineries to experience shortages but it is unlikely to have a significant impact on overall wine supplies from the Napa region.

The New York Times reported that about 15,000 cases of wine were lost at the Hess Collection winery in Napa, while another vineyard BR Cohn Winery had lost an unquantified amount of wine.