Unique vineyard located on the San Andreas Fault

Pat DeRose and son Alphonse stand on opposite sides of the San Andreas Fault, which runs through their winery near Hollister. At a creep of half an inch per year, it adds up. (ABC7)

December 18, 2009 7:04:59 PM PST
At the DeRose Vineyards in Hollister, they like their wine creeping, not shaken, and certainly not stirred.

You would, too, if you grew century old vines on a piece of land that is, in fact two pieces -- each moving in opposite directions at the rate of an inch a year.

"One side is the Pacific Plate. The other is the North American," explains winery owner Alphonse DeRose, who lives and works every day on top of the San Andreas Fault.

DeRose Vineyards is famous for its bold, red, Negrette wines, but the decision this family made in buying their land, some 21 years ago, may be bolder yet.

The San Andreas Fault has given their wine an element of cult status, and also added to maintenance. The property contains a collection of instruments that the United States Geological Survey monitors six times an hour.

"At one time, this beam, that support and this set of trusses all lined up," said DeRose.

The family, meantime, deals with the effects of that slow creep. The fault runs directly through the main building. It has cracked the office floor, warped an office wall, rendered a door almost unusable, and wrenched a concrete trench in the back.

They have spent $50,000 repaying 'earthcreep' damage the last few years.

But it's still a winery and likely to stay that way -- a place of creeps more than quakes and where no matter what happens, the San Andreas is nobody's fault, but their own.


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