Well, ok….not quite, no such thing exists. There is however, a seismic system now available to protect wine tanks from damaging seismic events and it shares the airbag concept. It is designed to protect what’s valuable. Just like an airbag it’s there when you need it, its insurance. Designed and developed in response to the recent 2013 earthquakes in Seddon and Marlborough the ONGUARD Seismic Tank system is specifically tailored for the protection of stainless steel wine tanks. The idea and concept comes from Structex Studio 2, an engineering company based in Lyttelton, Christchurch, New Zealand.
So do Marlborough Wineries really need to bother? Here is an excerpt from the Marlborough District Council’s own website:
“Marlborough lies within the highest earthquake risk zone in New Zealand. This is because the district is crossed by a series of fault lines associated with the relative movements of the tectonic plates beneath New Zealand. The Wairau, Awatere and Clarence faults are an extension of the Alpine Fault, as are a number of other active faults of limited extent.”
Losing valuable wine is expensive and in many situations preventable with correctly designed seismic systems. Damage to tanks, associated infrastructure and barrel racks can be mitigated significantly with the right approach to seismic design and systems.
On August 24, 2014 a magnitude 6.0 quake caused an estimated USD $80 – 100 million in damage to wineries in the Napa valley. Total damage in the region is estimated to be in the billions and they’re still counting.
“The Napa Valley Vintners trade group was collecting damage assessments from its members. The toll appeared to be worse at wineries close to downtown Napa and the quake’s epicenter. But with more than 500 wineries in the region, a complete estimate of total damages to the valley’s $13 billion industry could take at least another day. Many of the largest wineries were tight-lipped about their condition.” Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Airbags…seismic systems…nice to know they’re there, just in case.