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Protecting Your Winery Equipment

At its heart, a winery operation is about equipment—and not only the fermentation tanks and bottling lines. From farm equipment like tractors and grape pickers, to contractors’ equipment, to vehicles ranging from cars and trucks to forklifts, a tremendous amount of money—not to mention the future of the winery itself—is tied up in its equipment.

What happens if a winery tank falls or implodes? What if the chilling system breaks down?

Without smoothly operating equipment, a winery can’t make wine—it’s as simple as that. And while accidents do happen, it’s also fairly straightforward to ensure that your winery’s equipment functions as it’s supposed to.

Protecting a winery starts with proper maintenance and oversight of equipment and development of safety procedures. But sometimes things simply go wrong. What if water backs up in the sewer or winery drains? What if a storm damages or destroys the grape crop? What if a tank leaks or breaks down?

Make sure you understand the terms of your insurance coverage, and what protection is available to you in the event of equipment malfunction, leakage and spoilage, and infrastructure failure. And be sure to develop a contingency plan so that you know exactly where you can rent the equipment or purchase the grapes or juice you need—or which colleagues can help you get back on your feet.

The first and most important step is to develop a robust maintenance schedule, which will bring small issues to your attention, allowing you to resolve them before they develop into big problems that can impact production. Likewise, an inspection schedule will help to expose problems before they get to big to resolve.

Remember that your winery is made up of many interlocking pieces of equipment, only some of which are actually involved in the making of wine. If you have a deli or kitchen, be sure to establish a maintenance schedule for your cooking equipment, too, to ensure that a kitchen fire or gas-fueled explosion doesn’t destroy your whole operation. 

For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of businesses that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With offices in California and Indiana, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.