Bouncy Blenheim bounces back

Marlborough vineyard

Marlborough vineyard (Photo: Wine Marlborough)

A few days after the 7.8 (Mw) earthquake struck Kaikoura, I visited Marlborough to run a wine course. Most of the students worked for local wineries and the hot topic for the day was how much damage they had or hadn’t suffered.

Most had similar stories – a few broken bottles, bent legs on some tanks that would need to be repaired and possibly some structural damage to the wineries. “We were lucky”, was the collective message, but others were less lucky.

The Marlborough Express featured a photo of collapsed barrel racks at Constellation Wines where there was a suggestion that some bulk wine had been lost. Foley Family Wines (FFW) released a statement that its Grove Mill winery (tastings) had sustained damage in excess of $1 million, but none of their other three wineries were affected (two are in Martinborough).

NZ Winegrowers head, Philip Gregan, visited Marlborough shortly after the quake and reported that while there was plenty of damage it was mainly to tanks rather than buildings but with vintage looming they would need to make repairs with some urgency.

The worst affected area appears to have been around Seddon in the Awatere Valley. There were plenty of rumours about damage to Yealands Estate (tastings) but I was told that damage was minor when I contacted the company.

The 2013 Seddon Earthquake cost over $100 million and this latest earthquake will exceed that according to Marcus Pickens, general manager of Wine Marlborough.

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