Close Menu

Wineries escape major damage after Chilean quake

Winemakers in Chile have reported minimal damage to their wineries and stocks following a devastating earthquake on Wednesday that killed eight people.

The 8.3 earthquake had its epicentre in the Coquimbo wine region, close to La Serena

The 8.3-magnitude earthquake, which hit at around 8pm local time, had its epicentre in the country’s Coquimbo wine region, which contains the Elqui, Limari and Choapa valleys, very near to La Serena, prompting one million people to be evacuated from their homes. The earthquake also severely damaged conurbations all across the central part of the country, as far south as the Bio-Bio valley.

The Wines of Chile team has been in touch with wineries close to the epicentre, who have reported that apart from a few buckled stainless steel tank legs, some cracks in some tanks and broken bottles, they have suffered minimal damage. None of the eight reported fatalities have been linked to wineries in the area.

Releasing a statement this morning Anita Jackson, UK director at Wines of Chile, praised the resilience of Chilean winemakers and their “shaken but not broken attitude”.

“They are all back at work today, the country’s infrastructure restored within hours”, she said. “I’m sure that there is come clearing up to be done. Tomorrow (today) is Chile’s Independence Day (Dieciocho Day). It’s a public holiday and the nation will still try and celebrate despite what occurred yesterday. We should raise a glass to them, for their staunch attitude, as I said above shaken but not broken.”

Andes Wines reported similar levels of damage, confirming that around four pallets, (about 2,400 bottles) of Limari Spumante’s traditional method sparkling wine had been lost.

Steffan Jorgensen and Pamela Nuñez, owners of Elqui Wines, told Andes Wines: “No people damage near our winery. Infrastructure ok. Equipment ok. Wines ok. Tanks and bottled goods. Winery was shut down for the day when quake hit and have heard of lots of tank damage in other wineries, wine also some loss”.

While there does not appear to have been significant damage to the wine industry, Wines of Chile said it was now paying “special attention” to those working in the viticulture industry who may have been affected.

“We must stress that according to first reports our industry has not been affected”, a statement read. “However we are working to gather more information, minute by minute, with the support of the vineyards and wineries that from our Association. Fortunately so far we have not had any reported cases of accidents related to the earthquake. According to the wineries that we have heard from so far there has been no significant damages reported; and vineyards and wineries have been able to continue to work in normal conditions – this is due to the high standard of construction and technology that we have in our wineries.”

Resulting tsunamis have been battering the coast of the country with waves up to 4.5m high, threatening the country’s coastal vineyards, however Tsunami warnings have now been called off in Chile. Authorities in Hawaii, New Zealand and California are on alert as the waves travel across the Pacific ocean.ave heard of lots of tank damage in other wineries, also some wine loss.”

The VSPT Wine Group, which owns several Chilean wine brands including Leyda and Viñamar, reported yesterday that no damage had been caused to its wineries or offices.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No