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  • Dan Frankel

Protecting Your Wine Collection against Earthquakes

Updated: May 13, 2022

Important tips for wine collectors in earthquake country.

The 2014 earthquake in Napa caused millions of dollars in damage. Wine enthusiasts, by definition, know wine. Knowledge of how insurance policies protect wine may be scarce—until there is a loss. Don’t assume a wine collection is covered by home insurance. In all but a few cases, it isn’t, especially where earthquakes are concerned. While a custom wine cellar may reduce the risk to your collection, there are specific steps you can take to minimize your exposure.

Don’t assume a wine collection is covered by home insurance.

Seismic retrofitting

Any wine cellar in a home not properly secured to the foundation is at risk. If your home was built prior to 1970, it should be evaluated by a structural engineer or licensed contractor to be sure it meets modern seismic design standards.

Secure your wine racks

Bolt the wine racks to the wall and install at a slight upward angle. Store the bottles horizontally and use specifically designed earthquake pins or chains to secure the bottle necks to the racks. For new cellars, consider purchasing earthquake resistant racks that have already been designed to tilt towards the wall at a 6 1/2 degree angle.

Minimize storage height

Keep the storage height as low as possible to reduce the chance of breakage. Large heavy cases should be stored on the lower level racks.

Install a backup generator

To preserve the condition of your wine, a climate controlled environment is critical. In the event of a prolonged power outage, a permanent backup generator will ensure that a stable environment is maintained as well as other critical systems, such as central station alarms and sump pumps.

Maintain an up-to-date inventory

In the event of a loss, a detailed inventory and documentation (e.g. appraisals and invoices) will help expedite the claims process. Store backup copies of all documentation in a secure off-site location. CellarTracker, WineOwners, and eSommelier are all good resources for tracking, while services like Enotrias can help provide more in-depth valuations.

Ready to learn more? 

Acacia Insurance has been helping to make the unexpected uneventful since 1988, and we look forward to working with you. Please contact us with questions and for additional information.

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