Wine worker 'jolted out of bed' by quake

00:50, Aug 26 2014
andrew brooks
LOST VINTAGE: Andrew Brooks, centre, associate winemaker of Bouchaine Vineyards, surveys fallen wine barrels after a 6.0 earthquake in Napa, California early Sunday.

A Napa Valley-based woman who volunteered at Wine Marlborough this year says the magnitude-6 earthquake that rocked the California wine country early Sunday was the "most aggressive earthquake" she had ever felt.

Jenny Talbott said she was "jolted out of bed" early on Sunday morning.

"I was bouncing on my mattress, I was up in the air. It was really violent ... it scared the living daylights out of me."

The quake was centred about 14.4 kilometres south of Napa at 3.20am local time (10.20pm NZ time). It was felt as far south as Santa Cruz and into Sonoma County and damaged buildings, cut off power to tens of thousands, sparked fires, and resulted in about 89 people going to hospitals with injuries, including three who were in critical condition.

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Aftershocks were continuing when Talbott spoke to the Express yesterday, about 19 hours after the initial quake.


Talbott worked in Marlborough at the beginning of this year, and volunteered for Wine Marlborough as the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival wine seminar manager.

She returned to Los Angeles in April and moved to Napa Valley about a month ago. She had lived in Los Angeles for 10 years. The biggest earthquake she had experienced before now was magnitude-3.5.

Talbott lives on the second floor of a three-storey building, which she guessed was about 10 years old, so damage was minimal, she said.

"I can't see any cracks in the walls or the ceiling. Some things in the apartment shifted but otherwise it was OK. I consider myself very lucky. I lost power for a little while but I was lucky to get it back on soon after," she said.

"A lot of the older buildings in the city were affected. The facades were crumbling and about 15 to 20 buildings downtown have been red-tagged."

Talbott had been watching television to keep up with the latest news and was also following Wine Spectator on Facebook for news from the affected wine industry, she said.

Some wineries had lost thousands of litres of crushed fruit and wine, while others lost only a little, she said.

"I think it's been a mixed bag out there with the wineries especially with it being so early into harvest."

The National California Seismic System put the chance of a strong aftershock in the next week at 54 per cent.

Sunday's quake was the worst to hit the San Francisco Bay Area since the magnitude 6.9-quake struck in 1989, collapsing part of the Bay Bridge and killing more than 60 people. Most of them died when an Oakland freeway fell.

The Marlborough Express