HEALDSBURG, California (January 24th, 2020) – In the early afternoon of Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020, we became aware of a leak in one of our blending tanks. We worked urgently to contain the leak and save as much wine as we could. Per our emergency protocols, we immediately notified authorities, including the CA Office of Emergency Response, Healdsburg Fire, and CA Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW). We have been working closely with them and the Sonoma County Water Control Board on containment measures throughout the incident.
Our best estimate is that at least 50% of the wine was diverted from waterways – captured by winery pumps, drainpipes into our vineyard ponds, and additional pumping out of Reiman Creek by Rodney Strong personnel and a local third-party company. Unfortunately, some wine made it from the creek into the Russian River. At the time of the spill, river flow was at its highest volume of the week, at approximately 65 million gallons/hour, due to recent rains. We are investigating the apparent mechanical failure and have begun developing a plan with the CDFW to clean up the creek bank without doing damage to the environment.
The CDFW and Russian Riverkeepers organization, who have 50 volunteers monitoring the Russian River from our winery to the Pacific Ocean, both reported late on Thursday, January 23rd that four separate indicators of system health – frogs, water strider bugs, steelhead trout, and local birds – were all present and appeared unaffected 24 hours after the spill, with no further impacts expected.
Most of us here grew up swimming in the Russian River, and it is a vital part of our local eco-system. We are deeply concerned and are doing absolutely everything in our power to protect our waterways.
About Rodney Strong Vineyards
Rodney Strong Vineyards is a family-owned wine company committed to crafting world-class wines that capture the essence of Sonoma County. Rodney Strong farms 14 sustainable-certified estate vineyards and produces wines from Sonoma County’s finest appellations – Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, Knights Valley, Petaluma Gap, and Sonoma Coast. The winery was founded in 1959 by Sonoma County wine pioneer Rod Strong as the 13th bonded winery in the county.
Rodney Strong Vineyards has been a leader in environmental practices for over 25 years and was the first carbon-neutral certified winery in Sonoma County. The company aspires to protect and preserve the environment in all its operations through sustainable practices, solar power, and fish-friendly farming. The Klein family, a fourth generation California farming family, entered the wine business with the purchase of Rodney Strong Vineyards in 1989.
Learn more at www.RodneyStrong.com