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Winemaker loses hand in accident

A US winemaker had his right hand amputated after it was mutilated in an industrial accident.

Chris Bratcher. Santa Barbara Vintners

The accident happened on Tuesday, 2 September, when Chris Bratcher was using a motorised grape de-stemmer at the Arcadian Winery in Lompoc in Santa Ynez, California, according to reports by the Lompoc Record.

Speaking to the paper, winemaker Bruno D’Alfonso said he had heard “horrific screaming” at about 9am and knew “immediately what had happened.”

He said: “The crusher/de-stemmer is very powerful and doesn’t stop.

“It also doesn’t know the difference between a grape and a hand.”

Bratcher, of the Bratcher Winery, was airlifted to hospital where doctors amputated the hand three inches above his wrist.

Arcadian Winery, where Bratcher was working at the time, and D’Alfonso-Curran Wines work out of the same winemaking facility in Lompoc.

D’Alfonso said Bratcher was doing well “all things considered”.

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