USA: Frank-Rombauer Cellars’ Warehouse Destroyed in Early Morning Fire
Frank-Rombauer Cellars' warehouse received heavy damage in a fire discovered by employee Paula Duncan when she arrived for work at 7am on Thursday, June 15th. Proprietors Koerner Rombauer and Richard Frank, Chairman and CEO of Food.com, Inc., were at the winery Thursday morning praising what Rombauer termed the "world-class" efforts of the volunteer firefighters who came from: Deer Park, St. Helena, Calistoga, American Canyon, Rincon Valley (Santa Rosa), Pope Valley, and Rutherford after fighting the Berryessa blaze for the previous three days. If there was any good news to come out of Thursday's fire, it was that firefighters were able to confine it to the 40,000 square foot warehouse used for case storage and bottling. Barrel storage and retail room functions, which occur in neighboring buildings in the winery site, were spared and are open. Rombauer said that his family's inventory of ultra-premium Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon was destroyed. The balance of their inventory was not affected, as those wines are stored at the Tower Road Wine Storage in American Canyon. However, Richard Frank lost his entire inventory of Winston Hill wines in the blaze. The inaugural release of the Winston Hill wines, vintages dating from 1990 to 1997, was scheduled for release this summer. Also lost to the fire was the entire inventory of Napa Cellars, another winery owned by Frank-Rombauer, and wines and labels the facility housed for smaller wineries. Included in these were: Elyse, Spellitich, G.Graham, D-Cubed, Salvestrin, Pride Mountain, Winston-Hill, Brown Estate, and T-Vine just to name a few. A hot water boiler located in the equipment room on the ground floor may have caused the fire. By late afternoon, the fire remained trapped in an area inaccessible to firefighters. The Historic Larkmead Winery, the third oldest winery in the Napa Valley, was saved by the gallant efforts of the members of volunteer fire departments.
June 21, 2000