Wine Country Quake

Wine Country Quake

As you may have already heard, there was a Wine Country quake here in California this weekend. In the very early morning hours on Sunday, Bill and I awoke to our two Yorkies, who sleep with us nightly, frantically barking on our bed.

Jolted out of a deep sleep, we both tried to make sense of what was going on. It didn’t take long to realize we were having an earthquake and a big earthquake at that. It rocked our bed back and forth for a good 15 to 20 seconds. I remember clutching his arm in terror while he told me it would be okay, over and over again.

Finally the shaking, jarring and rolling stopped but my heart continued to race. My husband and I leapt out of bed to see what, if anything, had been damaged and to make sure the other dogs were okay.

Lots of kitchen drawers had been jerked open and there were assorted things on the floor of the pantry. Books had collapsed in their cases, framed photos were lying face down and a Scrabble game had emptied its contents onto the floor – all minor messes and the dogs seemed unfazed.

I immediately wondered where the epicenter was located. If it’s was far away, that meant this quake was probably “the big one” Bay Area residents, like me, have been worrying about for decades.

I did what many of my local friends did and went on Facebook. Immediately chatter about the quake began. It was some comfort knowing others had experienced what we had. Soon the media reported the information I and thousands of others wanted to know. The earthquake was centered in American Canyon, near Napa County, about 45 minutes from us. And it measured in at 6.1. That’s big but not “the big one”, thankfully.


After we calmed down and picked up the small messes around the house, we got into bed to go back to sleep. Yeah, right! With my heart and my mind both racing, I knew sleep would be unachievable, even though Bill and the girls seemed to have no problem nodding off.


At 4:00 a.m. his sleep was once again interrupted. Duty called and Bill, who is in the fire service, was dispatched to the city of Napa to help out. Fires erupted at two mobile home parks, destroying four homes. Highways buckled and wineries reported losses ranging from broken bottles to structural damages.

My friends at Montecristi Panama Hats in Yountville also suffered considerable damage.


A tall jewelry cabinet came crashing down creating quite a hazardous mess. They, along with their family and friends, spent the day cleaning up and they hope to reopen on Monday.


Bill was at the scene of some of the worst destruction. He took some photos to show me just how bad some of the damage is.


Older buildings in downtown did not fair well. Thankfully, no one was injured by falling rock. In fact, most who were hurt suffered non-life-threatening injuries and only three are critical.


I spent the day on edge. In the shower, my razor happened to fall off the shelf and I jumped as though an explosion had occurred. I’m not surprised by this reaction. Having been in the terrifying 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, I know that being tense and skittish are normal side-effects and can last for as long as several weeks after the incident. Frequent and dramatic aftershocks certainly don’t help matters, and neither do loud or sudden noises.  My plan is just to observe and understand that most people around here are experiencing the same thing. It will pass in time.

Looking to pry myself away from the news and social media, I asked Tori to go with me to our local farmers market. We picked up some beautiful produce then spent the afternoon and early evening in the kitchen, cooking away.


We made a vegetable soup, a cream of mushroom soup and Tori made a wonderfully comforting eggplant parmesan.  I opened a bottle of Grgich Hills Chardonnay from Napa Valley, of course, and rejoiced that my Wine Country friends are safe and sound. Even if some did suffer material damage, they weren’t physically harmed.


My husband was released from duty this evening and returned home. I’m looking forward to a peaceful and still night’s sleep tonight…with no aftershocks! My hope is that everyone impacted by the earthquake recovers quickly from this event.

Thank you to friends and readers who reached out to see how we were.

I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

I’d love to hear about your earthquake experiences.

Make it a rich day!




  1. Linda Salazar
    August 24, 2014 / 9:21 pm

    So glad you to hear that you are all O.K.! I couldn’t believe the damage to some of the buildings, surely if it had happened during the daytime the outcome would have been much different as far as injuries go. 3 years ago today we were in Sonoma, the same day we had dinner with you and Bill at Della Santina. How crazy is that!

    I remember when we had one of our horrible wildfires here years ago, Amanda came into our bedroom in the middle of the night saying “get up, get up NOW”! She was freaking out because she could see the fire on the hillside in the distance from our living room window, probably about 3 or 4 miles away. There was no way I was going back to sleep so I stayed up the rest of the night watching the coverage on T.V. At one point I did start loading up the car just in the event we had to evacuate. Very scary.

    I hope you aren’t feeling too many aftershocks…have a better week O.K.?


    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 9:05 am

      Yes, for sure. If it had happened during the day, things would be much, much different. I still can’t believe, looking at all the damage, that more people weren’t seriously injured or killed.
      Was it really 3 years ago to the date? Wow! That was a fun night.
      Fires scare me as much if not more than earthquakes. They can be so unpredictable and fast-moving. I just hate it when Bill goes out on wild land fires.
      Lots of aftershocks being reported but I am not feeling any of them. Yay!
      xoxo, A

  2. Julie
    August 24, 2014 / 9:32 pm

    I’m so sorry for all of you up there, remembering the big quakes we’ve experienced in So. Californis in the past. It is so scary and unnerving. How well I remember when we had no power for days and the aftershocks in the dark…..Praying for you this evening

    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 9:09 am

      In the 1989 earthquake, I was just 21 and had nothing in preparation of such a thing. No water, no batteries, no canned food, not even a transistor radio! My friends and I had to stand in line on the street to get basics at the local liquor store. It was really crazy – no power or hot water for three days. But being young as I was, I took it in stride.
      Thank you for your kind words. I am still on edge – a moth brush against my leg this morning and I screamed loudly, scaring my dogs. It’s going to be a jumpy week!

      • Julie
        August 25, 2014 / 9:29 am

        Oh, you poor thing! I so identify! It won’t always feel like this, so hang in there!

        My husband is not easily rattled, and that first night after the initial Northridge quake, we were in the house with only candles for light. He fell asleep super early and I was too scared to be in the dark because without street lights it was so pitch you couldn’t see a thing. But I was afraid a big aftershock was going to knock over my candles, so I sat for hours, transfixed on those candles, listening to the snores of my husband. It’s funny now, but then I was a giant mess.

  3. August 24, 2014 / 10:59 pm

    I am so glad to hear you are safe. Earthquakes are always so scary. I have lived in CA for about 10 years now and I ams so afraid for the day when the big one is here. I am no where prepared for it.


    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 9:28 am

      Living in California – or anywhere on the west coast, really – we are always faced with the possibility of a big earthquake. Thankfully, big ones don’t happen very often! We try to make sure we have plenty of stored fresh water on hand and dog food (why I don’t stockpile people food is a good question). I need more canned foods, batteries, and something to cook with. We would love to get a generator someday – but they aren’t cheap.
      Hopefully this is it for earthquakes for a while…a long while!

  4. August 24, 2014 / 11:37 pm

    Goodness, goodness, goodness…thankfully, you guys and puppies are all OK. I went through an earthquake in Acapulco many years ago, there is nothing comparing to the thought that the Earth moving like that can split huge boulders in a second. I know how scary it is. What we are seeing on the news is so few people were injured which is fabulous & wonderful. Help everyone you can and hold on to the pups. xx’s

    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 9:30 am

      I went through an earthquake in Acapulco once myself! It was my very first one – I was a kid staying at the Princess hotel (is that the name? So long ago).
      It is wonderful that so few people were seriously injured. Lots of damage to old buildings and some of my friends’ homes are just a wreck inside but that is fixable.
      Thanks for the kind comment! Nice to hear from you.

  5. Sophie
    August 25, 2014 / 1:11 am

    Sending best wishes from Australia. I am relieved to know your family and friends are ok. Thank you for letting your readers know!

    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 9:31 am

      Thank you for your concern, Sophie. It’s so wonderful to hear from people all over the world!

  6. August 25, 2014 / 1:48 am

    Thanks for sharing….I can’t imagine! Be safe and God bless!

    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 9:32 am

      It was no fun at all…very scary. Hoping that’s the last of it for a very long time!
      Thank you for your comment!

  7. August 25, 2014 / 2:58 am

    Adrienne, I’m glad you all are OK. Those pictures Bill took show lots of damage. That must be terrifying.

    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 9:33 am

      Thanks, Leigh. It was terrifying…hated every second. I am so glad there were no deaths and only a few serious injuries. Thank goodness it happened when it did.

  8. karen
    August 25, 2014 / 3:32 am

    so glad you and those ou love are okay

    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 9:33 am

      Yes, we are all good…great even. Just a little jittery!

  9. August 25, 2014 / 4:26 am

    Wow, so scary, dear. We didn’t feel a thing in Los Gatos (or we slept through it). And yes, I still remember how scary the 1989 earthquake was! Anyway, so happy to hear your beautiful family, including your precious Yorkies, are all safe and sound, Hon.
    Dawn Lucy

    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 9:34 am

      I was in the 1989 earthquake in the city. A real ride, that one.
      I was invited to go to a friend’s home in Los Gatos but I decided to stick it out in the city. Didn’t want to miss any of the action, I guess (I was 21).
      Thanks for your concern, Dawn Lucy!

  10. Mary
    August 25, 2014 / 4:36 am

    Glad you and your family are okay. You were one of the first people who came to my mind when I heard the earthquake had hit the Napa/Sonoma area. Knowing Bill is in the fire service, I was fairly sure he would be called upon. Although an East Coaster, we had an earthquake (5.8 on the scale) several years ago that knocked things from the walls of my house, opened most of the drawers and shifted our chimey, so I can appreciate, how unnerving it is, especially so, in the middle of the night. Prayers for the injured and others suffering losses due to damage.

    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 10:37 am

      You know an big earthquake is something I have long worried about mostly because I knew Bill would not be able to stay with me because of his job. Yesterday certainly was no where near how I played the scenario out in my head over the last 15 years – but it was hard seeing him leave and knowing another one could hit at any moment. I guess it helps me be more independent but it sure would have been nice to have him around yesterday – It’s also comforting to know he’s out helping others who need it much more than I do.
      Thank you for your kind words of support.
      By the way, lots and lots of chimneys crumbled yesterday. Bill saw them everywhere and even called me to check ours, which was fine.

  11. August 25, 2014 / 5:07 am

    I’m so glad you are all ok! Having been through the Northridge quake (the major impetus for moving to the SE) I think you have described exactly how it feels to be woken by and earthquake and the jumpiness experienced in the aftermath. My heart goes out to those who were injured although it was thankfully not many.

    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 10:51 am

      A friend in Las Vegas was telling me yesterday that loads of people moved there after the Northridge quake. I didn’t realize what an exodus it caused!
      This jumpiness thing is for the birds. I had a little moth brush against me and nearly went through the roof – even screamed, scaring my poor dogs! It’ll just take time, I know. But I am already tired of it!

      • August 25, 2014 / 11:05 am

        I remember a large aftershock hitting while I was on the phone with an out of state client. Without thinking, “Oh, s***!” came out of my mouth. Fortunately she had lived in CA and was sympathetic. Funny now, but not then.

    • Adrienne Shubin
      August 25, 2014 / 10:51 am

      Thank you, Pam. So are we!

  12. Kathy
    August 25, 2014 / 5:48 am

    Earthquakes are so scary, I think partially because there is no warning. I’m a southern California native, and not new to them, but after the Northridge quake, I think it took me a few months not to feel jumpy, skittish, and unsettled. I’m so glad you’re safe with no real damage, and my heart goes out to all of those who’ve had major damage and injuries. I’m sure it was hard on you when Bill had to leave to help, but glad you took your mind off it somehow and went to the farmer’s market and cooked all those amazing things. Hope you don’t have a lot of aftershocks that you feel.

  13. August 25, 2014 / 6:04 am

    So glad to hear you are okay! How scary.

    I’ve only been through one small earthquake when we lived on the West Coast but I remember how terrifying it was.

    Your supper looks yummy.


  14. August 25, 2014 / 7:49 am

    Ditto………It awaken me……..and I felt this is it its a BIG ONE!It went on for along time……….nothing out of place or broken here.I am an hour SOUTH of the SPOT!Sad about those older buildings……….I was just there last week too!

  15. August 25, 2014 / 9:05 am

    Adrienne, Glad you and Bill and animals all are okay. I can’t believe some of the damage. We saw on the news about the wineries. Amazing how many were fine though. The downtown Napa area really took a hit didn’t it? it’s such a lovely area, I hope they are able to rebuild it as it was. I hope Carolina’s shop Montecristo Hat recovers also. How fortunate this was in the missile of the night when most people were at home and not out. Scary though. I need to make sure things are secure here and bolted down. It really makes you think. I know what you mean about being jumpy after. I remember that after the 89 one. Looks like you and Tori made some yummy things from the market!

  16. Robyn
    August 25, 2014 / 10:02 am

    Hi Adrienne,
    Thank you giving us an update and with such good photos. I too thought first about you when I heard the news. I had to google to see the layout of Napa Valley to Kenwood to determine if you may have been affected. Here on the West Coast in Vancouver we need to be aware and prepare too – our kids do earthquake drills in schools. Admittedly, this quake has reminded me that I need to get a few things in order ‘just in case’. I remember feeling some rumblings from the quake in 1989 but can’t say that anything was felt this time. So happy you could get on with your day and enjoy the market and thank you again for the very informative post.

  17. August 25, 2014 / 12:14 pm

    Hate those big ones, especially when they hit in the middle of the night. Glad you and your loved ones are OK and didn’t sustain a lot of damage. Sometimes it seems rather random what gets damaged or doesn’t.

  18. Andrea Wesson
    August 25, 2014 / 2:08 pm

    I’ve lived in California my whole life. And I’ve lived in the house I’m currently living in since 1969. So I’ve rolled through a few earthquakes…but this one was hands down, by far, the scariest quake I’ve ever been through. It woke me out of a sound sleep, with shaking so violent, it felt like someone had picked up my house and was violently shaking it back and forth. As I sat up, I remember thinking, “Oh man, we are having a BIG earthquake.” Followed by”Who is screaming?” Then I realized it was me screaming.

    We had lots of stuff knocked over, most of our cabinet drawers were open, the fountains outside were toppled, lots of stuff fell from shelves, and all of the pictures on the walls were askew, but no major damage, and no one inside was hurt. My dogs did not make a peep during the quake, but rather, ran to various places to hide. It took us thirty minutes to find Ozzie.

    All of the top pieces of the glass lid on my fish tank fell into the tank itself, and the tank sloshed out about an inch worth of water. I don’t know how many gallons that is, but it’s a 265 gallon tank, so losing an inch of water out of it made quite the mess on the floor. And one of my poor fish managed to get caught in between the glass that fell in and the tank itself. He was happy when he was freed!

    But my cats had the best reaction of all. I guess when the shaking started, they all thought they should take cover. Anyone who has ever had a cat knows what I mean when I say they were “low running”. Problem was, the shaking lasted quite a long time, so when they got to their usual places to hide, everything was still rocking and rolling. So they continued to low-run, scrambling to find a quiet place. And, even though I was upstairs, the reason I know this is what they did is because there were little pee trails where ever they went. Meaning, they literally had the piss scared out of them. Poor babies were not very impressed with Mother Nature!

    I hope that we are done shaking for a good long while. Jim was in Los Angeles with Joe when it happened, so neither of them are jumping when the wind blows too hard. Last night there was an aftershock, and I jumped like Sylvester the Cat from the Warner Brothers cartoons, practically latching on to the ceiling! Jim very calmly said, “It’s just an aftershock.”

    Yeah, I know…but it’s still a little shocking!

  19. August 25, 2014 / 9:34 pm

    so glad you are all okay, it must have been quite frightening. And, btw, those little dogs on your bed are just adorable!

  20. August 25, 2014 / 10:11 pm

    I’m so glad that you are all okay, with only minor damage. What a scary experience! We do get earthquakes in Seattle, but they aren’t as big as the ones in California. Having one in the middle of the night would be especially frightening! Our last big one was in 2000. I was at a meeting, and we all got under the tables to wait it out – it seemed like it lasted forever. I was so worried about my older son, who was in kindergarten at the time. He’s a nervous nellie, and I was concerned that he was scared. When he got home, I asked him about it – he hadn’t even noticed because they were out at recess! We are constantly being warned about the “big one” here too – scary stuff.

  21. Tamara in S. California
    August 26, 2014 / 4:39 pm

    As a native Californian, I have been in many, many earthquakes, the most terrifying of which was the 6.6 magnitude 1971 Sylmar earthquake, when I was young, and we were living just a few miles from the epicenter. The aftershocks were large, long and absolutely terrifying. As an adult, the scariest moment I ever experienced was while staying at the top of a high rise hotel in San Diego during the 1992 dual Lander’s quakes. As the hotel literally swayed back and forth, with us somewhere north of the 35th floor, I truly though I’d not live to see the next day. As a result of that event, however, I am no longer afraid of anything that shakes, rattles or rolls while in my own modest two story home!

    However, as a result of the Loma Prieta earthquake, specifically the collapsing of the Nimitz freeway, the route my husband drove when we lived along the East Bay in the early 80’s, I now come close to having panic attacks everytime we cross one of the bay’s many bridges. In fact, as we drove over the Richmond Bridge just this last week, a few days before the Napa quake, I had to do slow breathing and look away from the bay until we were safely across. So, clearly these things do leave scars in their own way.

    With no children still at home to protect, when things start to shake nowadays, as they did just this past March, when we experienced a 5.1 magnitude earthquake, my first thought, for whatever reason, is to save the china. I will wake up out of a sound sleep, register ‘earthquake!’ and go running for the china hutch. Isn’t that crazy? I can only attribute it to my grandmother being completed devastated at the loss of most of her china and glassware after the 1971 Sylmar quake, and the impression that must have made on me as a young girl!

    We have a three day supply of water and food at the ready, which is the max most folk would have to ‘go it alone’ after a quake according to disaster preparedness experts we’ve encountered. Because earthquakes tend to be centralized, getting help in is not usually the issue it might be after a wider spread event such as, for example, a hurricane.

    And we do carry earthquake insurance, even though it is expensive. It’s my understanding that only 7% of California residents do, though, which I find that completely baffling.

  22. Lynn
    August 27, 2014 / 9:51 am

    I must admit that I thought of you as well as some acquaintances who live near American Canyon. When I looked at a map online linked to the news reports, I saw Kenwood close by and hoped that you had missed out on too much damage.
    Normally I would have been on the phone to my daughter who lives in Lower Haight in SF, but this past weekend she was visiting her sister in NYC. She doesn’t seem to have had any items fall though on her return as she hasn’t mentioned anything at all.
    Here in SoCal, I am waiting for the next significant one, as the last on Easter Sunday a few years back really got our attention when we were in a park for an Easter picnic. Lightposts swaying and a large statue rocking. Everyone was rooted to the spot in shock. Earthquakes are very scary as they are so random.

  23. margm
    August 29, 2014 / 3:45 pm

    In non-earthquake news, I would LOVE to eat that eggplant parmesan. Looks amazing. Any chance Tory has a recipe she can share? Thank you!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Policy

We do not share personal information with third-parties nor do we store information we collect about your visit to this blog for use other than to analyze content performance through the use of cookies, which you can turn off at anytime by modifying your Internet browser’s settings. We are not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other Web sites or media without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.”