Wineracks By Marcus Enables Napa Foodservice Wine Inventories To Withstand Impact Of Earthquake


When an earthquake ripped through Napa Valley in late summer, many restaurants lost thousands of dollars in wine inventories because they didn't have the right racks.

But those with WineRacks by Marcus had virtually no damage because these racks are made to resist the kind of violent shaking and crashing of the earth that happens frequently in California.

Napa Valley’s wine industry suffered $80.3 million in damage from the 6.0-magnitude earthquake last month, according to CBS in San Francisco.  The New York Times says the damage may be closer to $1 billion.

But restaurants with WineRacks by Marcus  had minimal to no damage.  

California based WineRacks by Marcus has built a reputation at many of the nation's most talked-about restaurant, hotel and casino properties as an innovator in the high volume storage of wine. 

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The Marcus Racks® are furnished with feet to protect flooring. Bottles are placed horizontally on the wine racks, and shelves are available for 375 ml half bottles, 750 ml full bottles, 1.5 L magnums (and larger) and for wooden boxes.

For large-bottomed bottles of champagne and sparkling wines Marcus offers a champagne shelf. The shelves are available in single,double and triple bottle depths. Many of WineRacks' top customers specify the line when esthetics are important because the aluminum rivets permit the whole shelf to be color anodized in the manufacturing process.

But perhaps the most outstanding part of the company's storage systems is that they cradle  each bottle on both sides. Why?  Because that's what protects wine in an earthquake.

Because the bottles do not touch each other, they are spared the glass-against-glass shock, and because they are cradled, they do not fall out open sides, as is common with “X” style storage.

“We lost absolutely no wine,” says chef Sean O'Toole of Torc in Napa.  “We didn't have the racks bolted to the wall, as Marcus suggests, which made them kind of fluid.  But with all the movement, all that happened was it just jogged the racks and tilted them, but they absorbed the shock.”

O'Toole, whose restaurant, contemporary American cuisine focused on international foods, has only been open 10 months.  “I would buy those racks again in a minute,” he says.  “I spent some time in Las Vegas, where they're pretty common.  Opening my own restaurant I remember them being really sleek and clean-looking but also very functional.  I wanted them for Torc.”

Golden State restaurateur Giovanni Scala noted:  “The racks were SOLID.   Nothing came out of the shelf.  We lost no wine.  We've had the  MARCUS racks at least 10 years and they've been great.  The earthquake proved it.”

Giovanni notes that wine is the draw for his restaurant  Bistro Don Giovanni in St. Helena, CA northern Italian cuisine with pasta, bread, desserts all made in-house, so it's especially important to have racks that can protect the bottles. 

In business since 1998, WineRacks by Marcus was initially formed to provide wine storage solutions for customers of a large wine storage facility, who required safe, accessible, and space-efficient storage, with the capability to withstand the occasional earthquake. 

Founder Steve Marcus had a hard time finding custom racks for the company's storage lockers and decided to make exactly what he wanted. Using his own passion for safe wine storage, Marcus designed the racks to be efficient, lightweight, and sturdy. The racks are still, as they were when Marcus started the company, hand-built, according to his wife and co-founder Nancy Marcus.

Most insurance does not cover earthquake loss.  It is considered an act of nature and therefore not insurable. That's why it's critical to store wine securely on racks designed to protect each bottle, as WineRacks by Marcus does, with its unique way of individually cradling each bottle. The bottles sit low enough in the cradle to survive a 6.0 earthquake. Marcus was no stranger to earthquakes.  Growing up in the Bay Area, he lived through many. He visited the Point Reyes Earthquake Station and studied how the earth moves in an earthquake. He understood the importance of cradling each bottle individually, and cradling them low enough to prevent “bounce out.” 

That's why wine stored in WineRacks by Marcus withstood the tumult and trashing of the earthquake.  Restaurants with this type of wine storage thanked their lucky stars, more than once, you can bet.