Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

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Benny P
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Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#1 Post by Benny P » April 10th, 2019, 11:48 am

Living in California, the thought of an earthquake is often in the back of my mind. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on how to minimize the risk of bottles slipping out of the wooden racks as well as display racks that have the bottles displayed horizontally with the labels out?
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Anton D
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#2 Post by Anton D » April 10th, 2019, 12:11 pm

I have always approached it fatalistically. I couldn't come up with what I felt was a viable plan for bottle safety that preserved my desire for a harmonious look and feel to the cellar, so I have ignored the risk.

I used to keep wine stored in cardboard divider-boxes lying on their sides, stacked up to 4 high. I was in the bay area for the Santa Clara quake (so, good sized,) and only one bottle left its slip and it didn't break. Contributing to my current Laissez-faire approach.

It will be interesting to see what other people have done!
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#3 Post by Brian Tuite » April 10th, 2019, 12:21 pm

All my wine storage has doors that close in front of the bottles. If the quake is bad enough to topple them I’m gonna be in a bigger mess than some broken wine bottles.
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#4 Post by Warren Taranow » April 10th, 2019, 12:32 pm

While my cellar is mostly a seismic disaster waiting to happen, I've added some precautions (which are likely futile):
  • Thick bungee cords to prevent the racks from toppling
  • Foam pipe insulation place over the cross bars on which the bottles rest, in the hopes this would provide cushioning, but especially friction to lessen the tendency of the bottles to shake free from their positions
  • On "Vintage View" racks, I've fabricated rubber straps.

However, I suspect one good shake and all of this would be for naught. Also, if it happens in a warm season, there will likely be ample and prolonged power outages to cook any surviving bottles.

I think the best earthquake preparedness for a wine collection is adequate insurance.

Cheers,
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#5 Post by dsGriswold » April 10th, 2019, 1:06 pm

Like Brian, most of my racks are in cabinets with doors. The rest in Weinboxes to be stacked along a basement wall with some in horizontal 3 and 6 packs on top of the storage cabinets. The plan was to build new taller racking and revert the cabinets back to storage. I do like the doors on the cabinets, so will just build some additional above the old. They have been repositioned and screwed to the wall.
I'm getting old and re-tired, so now just waiting out the big one on the same side of the river so the bridges falling down aren't so big a worry as when I worked on the other side. [whistle.gif]
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#6 Post by Nathan Smyth » April 10th, 2019, 1:19 pm

Warren Taranow wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 12:32 pm
the best earthquake preparedness for a wine collection is adequate insurance
No actuarial with an IQ any larger than that of a walnut would agree to insure a serious wine cellar in an earthquake zone at anything less than utterly confiscatory rates [like, say, $0.10 per $1.00 of valuation per year].

Anyone who would write you an "affordable" policy would be fronting such a badly overextended ponzi scheme that their firm would fold up like a cheap suit when The Big One actually struck.

Within 5 minutes, they'd be running off to Big Gubmint, begging for a multi-trillion-dollar bailout.

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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#7 Post by Chris Seiber » April 10th, 2019, 1:44 pm

Though I cannot, of course, match Nathan's extremeness in the saying of it, homeowner's insurance typically doesn't include earthquake coverage, or if you buy earthquake coverage, it's expensive and there is a very high deductible. So I doubt insurance is going to help you with bottles lost in an earthquake.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, though.

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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#8 Post by AAgrawal » April 10th, 2019, 3:01 pm

I'm low tech. Zip ties and rubber O-rings on individual racking, rubber ties for vintage view (from the company), and I only put cheap stuff in the few X-bins that I have.
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#9 Post by Scott G r u n e r » April 10th, 2019, 3:39 pm

AAgrawal wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 3:01 pm
I'm low tech. Zip ties and rubber O-rings on individual racking, rubber ties for vintage view (from the company), and I only put cheap stuff in the few X-bins that I have.
I'm even lower tech. Fingers crossed.
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#10 Post by jrozes » April 10th, 2019, 3:45 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 1:44 pm
Though I cannot, of course, match Nathan's extremeness in the saying of it, homeowner's insurance typically doesn't include earthquake coverage, or if you buy earthquake coverage, it's expensive and there is a very high deductible. So I doubt insurance is going to help you with bottles lost in an earthquake.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, though.
My cellar insurance with AIG covers loss due to earthquake up to my blanket coverage limit. The deductible is 10% of said limit.
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#11 Post by Larry Link » April 10th, 2019, 4:33 pm

I like the o-ring approach to holding the bottles in place in the racks. Simple and inexpensive.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Earthq ... Wine-Rack/

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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#12 Post by Jason T » April 10th, 2019, 7:20 pm

Larry Link wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 4:33 pm
I like the o-ring approach to holding the bottles in place in the racks. Simple and inexpensive.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Earthq ... Wine-Rack/
Dumb question alert. What is it about that approach that keeps bottled safe/secure?
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#13 Post by Randy Bowman » April 10th, 2019, 7:53 pm

Jason, the bottles will slide out of any racking IF the motion of the earthquake moves the bottles/rack back and forth versus side to side. We lost most of our Araujo, Abreau, Bond and Gallica stored in cardboard because the bottles slid out of them in the last earthquake. Lost a bunch of Riesling in wood racks during our last earthquake that were damaged by bottles sliding out of wood racking 3 feet away.

We had a guy come into the store about six months prior to the earthquake offering his invention of a Bottle Leash. It's a metal bottle ring with a heavy duty rubber retention strap attached to the ring and the other end had a hole for a screw to attach it to the wine rack. QuakeGuardian.com. He showed up two days after the earthquake to see if we wanted to buy them now. They would have saved those bottles we had in wood wine racks. For somebody who has a smaller cellar with racking they would be very good. Useless for us as a business because of overall cost and time consumption. Shoppers want to pull bottles out of a rack, not have to figure out how to the bottle leash of.
Last edited by Randy Bowman on April 10th, 2019, 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#14 Post by Nathan Smyth » April 10th, 2019, 7:55 pm

You people don't seem to understand that if and/or when The Big One strikes, all of these insurance companies are going broke.

They'll head off to DC, and dump what money they have remaining into paying lobbyists to sell sob stories to congressmen, and then cross their fingers and aim for the fences and take a great big swing at that multi-trillion-dollar bailout.

Hopefully the day will come when the American people finally put down their collective feet, and say, "No mas", to the privatization of profits & the socialization of losses.

But I guess no one ever went broke misunderestimating the intelligence of the average voter.

Or the corruption of the average congressman.

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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#15 Post by Warren Taranow » April 10th, 2019, 7:57 pm

Nathan Smyth wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 1:19 pm
Warren Taranow wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 12:32 pm
the best earthquake preparedness for a wine collection is adequate insurance
No actuarial with an IQ any larger than that of a walnut would agree to insure a serious wine cellar in an earthquake zone at anything less than utterly confiscatory rates [like, say, $0.10 per $1.00 of valuation per year].

Anyone who would write you an "affordable" policy would be fronting such a badly overextended ponzi scheme that their firm would fold up like a cheap suit when The Big One actually struck.

Within 5 minutes, they'd be running off to Big Gubmint, begging for a multi-trillion-dollar bailout.
My policy covers it. I don’t see State Farm going away in my lifetime, but who knows?

Cheers

Warren
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#16 Post by Randy Bowman » April 10th, 2019, 7:59 pm

Warren, what is your deductible and how much a month?
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#17 Post by alan weinberg » April 10th, 2019, 8:40 pm

there is a far easier, cheaper, low tech way to protect wine in racks. Nothing is earthquake proof, just resistant.
D38A923A-3F75-41E5-8036-421AF82EE92C.jpeg
It’s a rubber band.

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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#18 Post by AAgrawal » April 10th, 2019, 9:23 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 8:40 pm
there is a far easier, cheaper, low tech way to protect wine in racks. Nothing is earthquake proof, just resistant. D38A923A-3F75-41E5-8036-421AF82EE92C.jpeg
It’s a rubber band.
That's genius. If I hadn't already zip tied rubber O-rings to everything, I would definitely try that.
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#19 Post by Larry Link » April 10th, 2019, 9:34 pm

Jason T wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 7:20 pm
Larry Link wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 4:33 pm
I like the o-ring approach to holding the bottles in place in the racks. Simple and inexpensive.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Earthq ... Wine-Rack/
Dumb question alert. What is it about that approach that keeps bottled safe/secure?
The bottle will not slide out of the rack. The o-ring prevents the bottle from ejecting. Now you also need to strap your racks to the wall so that the rack doesn’t tip over.

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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#20 Post by Benny P » April 11th, 2019, 9:04 am

AAgrawal wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 3:01 pm
I'm low tech. Zip ties and rubber O-rings on individual racking, rubber ties for vintage view (from the company), and I only put cheap stuff in the few X-bins that I have.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. The rubber band looks like a great cost effective idea! The O-rings look to be a great idea as well. In regards to the vintage view rubber ties, which company did you get them from? I may also look into insurance out of curiosity but sounds like premiums might not make it worthwhile. Thanks again - some great suggestions and ideas from everyone.
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#21 Post by A.B ud res » April 11th, 2019, 9:50 am

No actuarial with an IQ any larger than that of a walnut would agree to insure a serious wine cellar in an earthquake zone at anything less than utterly confiscatory rates [like, say, $0.10 per $1.00 of valuation per year].
--
Oh dont worry some of us on here already know how outrageous wine insurance is. While other's keep calling it "cheap peace of mind" because they confuse "cheap" (which means VALUE) as the same as low nominal dollar of premium

I will say it again.. Wine insurance is not "cheap" given the risk of peril. I have never really thought about if earthquake should be included or not, but i would not be surprised if it was..because wine insurance is not "CHEAP".
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#22 Post by Warren Taranow » April 12th, 2019, 8:20 am

Randy Bowman wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 7:59 pm
Warren, what is your deductible and how much a month?
Randy, I’m out of town at the moment. I’ll let you know that information when I can access my policy.

Cheers
Warren
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#23 Post by Warren Taranow » April 12th, 2019, 8:24 am

Benny P wrote:
April 11th, 2019, 9:04 am
...In regards to the vintage view rubber ties, which company did you get them from?
Vintage View sells them. I also made some myself. I bought a rolled up sheet of rubber, cut strips and used a heavy duty hole puncher.

Warren
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#24 Post by J. Rock » April 12th, 2019, 1:24 pm

Does wine insurance typically include damage from earthquakes, or would you need a separate rider for earthquakes or add wine onto an earthquake specific policy?
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#25 Post by Alan Rath » April 12th, 2019, 2:59 pm

Almost no policy that I know of covers earthquake damage. Here in California you’re option is to buy a policy backed by the California Earthquake Authority, generally through your homeowners carrier. That policy will have a large deductible (ours is something like $60k), and probably has limits on exactly what it will cover. But really, if we have a quake that does enough damage to trigger my policy, the whole area will almost certainly be a widespread disaster.
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#26 Post by dsimmons » April 12th, 2019, 6:46 pm

I have a passive cellar in my crawl space with several thousand bottles. Because it is a crawl space the racking is only 8 bottles high. During the Nov 30th 7.1 earthquake we had here I had over 100 bottles fall from the racking and not a single bottle broke. I attribute this to three things:

1. The racking is securely attached to the overhead floor joists so the racking itself did not topple over. They certainly would have toppled had they not been secure.

2. Because it is a crawl space and I literally must crawl around to access the wine, I have covered the floor with carpet remnants. As a result the falling bottles hit carpet instead of a harder surface. If the bottles had fallen on tile or concrete I am certain I would have had significantly more breakage.

3. Dumb-a$$ed luck. I was amazed that bottles falling on other bottles did not result in breakage. I took it as definite sign that God gave us wine because he loves us. flirtysmile
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#27 Post by Randy Bowman » April 12th, 2019, 7:37 pm

CA earthquake insurance is primarily for the house and foundation. It doesn't cover contents of the house. Meanwhile, look at the fine print on you home owners insurance to see if insures anything damaged by an act of nature or military conflict.

Example A: A friend has CA earthquake insurance and his house was trashed. He paid $1,100 a month to reduce his deductible to 40K. Damage to the structure was 45K, so he was out 5K on the structure. None of the appliances, electronics, glassware, liquor, wine, etc. were covered by either the Earthquake Insurance or the standard insurance property.

Example B: We know a number of people who lost their homes in the recent fires in Napa and Sonoma. There was some push and shove early but in the end, most if not all of the insurance companies cut checks for the maximum amount insured plus the cost to rebuild the home, temporary housing, etc. Several people we talked to were given thousands in cash for immediate necessities.
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#28 Post by Frank Drew » April 13th, 2019, 6:39 am

alan weinberg wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 8:40 pm
there is a far easier, cheaper, low tech way to protect wine in racks. Nothing is earthquake proof, just resistant. D38A923A-3F75-41E5-8036-421AF82EE92C.jpeg
It’s a rubber band.
I like that, Alan, and it would work just as well on wire racking that couldn’t take a staple.

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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#29 Post by Warren Taranow » April 13th, 2019, 10:57 am

Randy Bowman wrote:
April 12th, 2019, 7:37 pm
CA earthquake insurance is primarily for the house and foundation. It doesn't cover contents of the house... None of the appliances, electronics, glassware, liquor, wine, etc. were covered by either the Earthquake Insurance or the standard insurance property...
All of these posts make me think I was overly optimistic regarding what the wine rider on my homeowners policy and earthquake insurance actually cover. It's time to call my insurer for details.

Warren
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#30 Post by mdavis » April 13th, 2019, 12:04 pm

I have quite an elaborate scheme for this.

I use Weinboxes because:
1. they have very high relative density, compared to single bottle racks yet are easily tracked and organized
2. they have a door that closes to prevent wine from shifting during the sinusoidal waves of an EQ.
3. they are easily connected together and anchored- I used engineered stainless steel cable, lb rated crimps, stainless steel H/W, etc.

Insurance is good, and necessary (I recommend Chubb), but: it is important to recognize that many of us have wine that cannot be replaced - DRC is easily replaced because it is traded so heavily, but geeky small production unicorns are often not available for any amount of money and many of them are never seen at auction.

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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#31 Post by H Guy » April 13th, 2019, 12:59 pm

mdavis wrote:
April 13th, 2019, 12:04 pm
I have quite an elaborate scheme for this.

I use Weinboxes because:
1. they have very high relative density, compared to single bottle racks yet are easily tracked and organized
2. they have a door that closes to prevent wine from shifting during the sinusoidal waves of an EQ.
3. they are easily connected together and anchored- I used engineered stainless steel cable, lb rated crimps, stainless steel H/W, etc.

Insurance is good, and necessary (I recommend Chubb), but: it is important to recognize that many of us have wine that cannot be replaced - DRC is easily replaced because it is traded so heavily, but geeky small production unicorns are often not available for any amount of money and many of them are never seen at auction.

-mark
How many weinboxes would you feel comfortable stacking? I'm thinking of making my under stairs closet into an active cellar and using a bunch of weinboxes.
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#32 Post by mdavis » April 13th, 2019, 2:09 pm

H Guy wrote:
April 13th, 2019, 12:59 pm

How many weinboxes would you feel comfortable stacking? I'm thinking of making my under stairs closet into an active cellar and using a bunch of weinboxes.
I am 10 high in various parts of the cellar, 8 high in others, 4 high for the island. If I recall, they are rated for something like 1100lbs.

Of course, mine are grouped into 4s and anchored to the walls as a grid.

I've considered cross-bracing the walls.

One thing to watch is the plastic connectors when you snap them together - there is one particular location where a small u-shaped plastic piece extends from the edge that can arrive defective/broken from the factory - you'll see some of these if you buy enough of them.

-mark
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#33 Post by alan weinberg » April 13th, 2019, 4:00 pm

mdavis wrote:
April 13th, 2019, 2:09 pm
I've considered cross-bracing the walls.
plywood shear walls under my drywall, 4x8s structurally reinforcing the floor, as it’s on a raised foundation.

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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#34 Post by mdavis » April 13th, 2019, 10:08 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
April 13th, 2019, 4:00 pm
mdavis wrote:
April 13th, 2019, 2:09 pm
I've considered cross-bracing the walls.
plywood shear walls under my drywall, 4x8s structurally reinforcing the floor, as it’s on a raised foundation.
Ply on the walls is a good idea, Alan. I wish I had done that.

I had my floors ripped up to the dirt, excavated down a few feet, then put in 72' of additional footings, then 4x12s every 12" on top of the footings with no more than 4' spans - and I had existing footing under there already...my floor was designed for 10,000lbs per sq ft, dead load. :) . You can park a tank in that room..so floor is fine and it doesn't have any deflection at all...I put slate on it as well.

However - I worry about the walls coming down in an Earthquake, which is why some sort of cross-bracing would be nice...something that spans across the room that basically connects opposite walls to each other in the mid-spans. All the walls are lined with weinboxes and the room is about 300 sq ft.

I also have some walls that are doubled up and up to 1' thick, but I wish I had used ply on the walls for shear - I did not do that...

I used 4" of closed cell foam, densarmor, denscoat, so that should help to stabilize them a bit.

-mark
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#35 Post by Howard Horwitz » April 14th, 2019, 2:05 pm

A.B ud res wrote:
April 11th, 2019, 9:50 am
No actuarial with an IQ any larger than that of a walnut would agree to insure a serious wine cellar in an earthquake zone at anything less than utterly confiscatory rates [like, say, $0.10 per $1.00 of valuation per year].
This is a strong statement belied by my 20+ years of experience purchasing stand-alone wine insurance that includes earthquake coverage for my So Cal based collection. Wine insurance with EQ coverage is expensive but nothing like 10 cents per dollar of value. It is more in the range of 60 cents (o less) per $100 in value -- about 1/16 of the cost you suggest.
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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#36 Post by alan weinberg » April 14th, 2019, 5:42 pm

B5F3E357-601F-454F-864E-0DC009A674AC.jpeg
people have asked what rubber bands I used.

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Re: Earthquake Proofing Wine Cellar

#37 Post by A.B ud res » April 16th, 2019, 9:50 am

Howard Horwitz wrote:
April 14th, 2019, 2:05 pm
A.B ud res wrote:
April 11th, 2019, 9:50 am
No actuarial with an IQ any larger than that of a walnut would agree to insure a serious wine cellar in an earthquake zone at anything less than utterly confiscatory rates [like, say, $0.10 per $1.00 of valuation per year].
This is a strong statement belied by my 20+ years of experience purchasing stand-alone wine insurance that includes earthquake coverage for my So Cal based collection. Wine insurance with EQ coverage is expensive but nothing like 10 cents per dollar of value. It is more in the range of 60 cents (o less) per $100 in value -- about 1/16 of the cost you suggest.
my quote you quoted was someone else's quote from above.. and i'm glad that you agree that wine insurance is expensive.. many people think its "cheap".
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