August 26, 2014 – This weekend’s 6.0 magnitude earthquake caused millions of dollars in damage at many of Northern California’s wineries and vineyards, with some wineries in the Napa Valley reporting extensive damage to both equipment and cask inventories. However, the valley’s longest-established distillery reports no damage at either of its facilities other than brief power outages.
“I didn’t even feel it,” said Charbay Winery & Distillery’s 13th-generation master distiller, Marko Karakasevic. “I turned the news on the next morning, and all of a sudden, there it was.” Charbay’s winery and brandy distillery is located about 30 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter at American Mountain, while the family’s whisky, rum, and vodka distillery in Ukiah is about 100 miles northwest of the epicenter.
“We took a look, and you know, we don’t have thousands of barrels stacked to the roof, and I can say we just got really lucky,” Karakasevic said.
Editor’s note: This story was corrected to update Marko Karakasevic’s status as a 13th-generation master distiller instead of an 8th-generation master distiller.