World’s worst wine disasters

California warehouse fire 2005

Large_bonfireIn 2005 a Californian wine warehouse was set on fire destroying wine valued at US$250 million, prompting a repair bill of $12m and untold insurance claims.

The 244,000 square foot facility on Mare Island, owned by Wines Central, housed wines owned by 92 wineries and 43 private collectors totalling six million bottles, 80% of which were destroyed in the fire.

Businessman Mark Anderson was later found guilty of setting the blaze and jailed for 27 years.

2 Responses to “World’s worst wine disasters”

  1. Ducourt says:

    1956, the extreme frost wiped out 80% of all vineyards between Bordeaux and Languedoc

  2. Richard Smart says:

    Who wrote this about phylloxera…So many mistakes.

    There are several books on the subject, and a fulsome entry in the Oxford Companion to wine.

    Phylloxera did not come close “to killing every vine on the European continent, and all of its grape varieties”. There are experimental vineyards in France, on sandy soils, still own-rooted.
    Phylloxera was reported in a London glasshouse, and did not “devastate British vineyards”, probably the majority of which, and there are many more now, remain free of phylloxera.

    Burying toads under vines, which might be praised today as “biodynamic”, was one of many bizarre solutions offered for prize money. The solution was to graft to resistant American rootstocks. Sadly the author of the article confuses this process with “hybridisation” which is a sexual crossing of two varieties.

    Phylloxera is controllable by grafting on resistant rootstocks, and many but not all vines are planted this way. The vineyards of Chile are free of phylloxera, as are the great majority in Australia.

    I have recently written an article suggesting that grapevine trunk diseases pose a greater threat to the worlds vineyard than phylloxera. If you are going to include vineyard pests and diseases in “the worlds worst wine disasters”, trunk diseases and maybe red blotch virus are major omissions.

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