People in the Napa Valley area of California are cleaning up after Sunday morning's earthquake. The 6.0 magnitude earthquake was the worst to hit the area in 25 years. More than 170 people were hurt. Dozens of homes and buildings are unsafe to occupy. More than 100 homes were damaged. Of course, Napa is the heart of wine country, and this is harvest season.
At least one wine-maker told our news partners at USA Today he lost enough wine to fill a swimming pool when bottles and barrels went flying. USA Today reports Napa is home to nearly 800 wineries. Thankfully, many only reported slight damage. In 2012, the US Census said there were 1,125 wineries in California. So with 800 wineries, Napa makes up more than half of California's wine production. Again, the earthquake did not ruin Napa's wine production.
WINE PRODUCTION STATS
California is also the leading wine producing state in the U.S. But North Carolina is in the top 10! In fact, with 145 wineries, the NC Agriculture department says North Carolina ranks 10th in U.S. wine and grape production.
Visit NC.com says a 2009 study showed the annual economic impact of the North Carolina wine and grape industry is $1.28 billion and it supports nearly 7,600 jobs.
North Carolina's wine industry focuses on native muscadine grapes and European-style vinifera grapes.They create Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Viognier wines.
Whit Winslow with the state agriculture department says North Carolina ranks third in the nation in wine tourism, behind California and New York. But, get this, the Biltmore Estate Winery in Asheville gets more than one million visitors a year and is the most visited winery in the United States.
So what happens to North Carolina wine? Winslow said most North Carolina wine stays in North Carolina. That's because many of the wineries are smaller and the distribution is limited to regional areas. But there are wineries, like Biltmore and Duplin, that distribute to locations along the eastern seaboard. Winslow also said four or five North Carolina wineries are selling their wines overseas in China.
To find a North Carolina winery near you, click here.