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Woops Wineries……….did you spill something?

I just recently read a story about a spill that happened at a winery where a tank holding 7,500 gallons of wine had a bolt break, causing the wine to spill out and head rapidly down the drain.

I’ve actually seen a few of these wine loss events happen over the years at different wineries and definitely the bulk of the activity happens frantically as the scene originally unfolds. Cellar crew scrambling madly to catch the wine spraying out from the tank and re-direct it into another one to minimize the overall loss as much as possible. A pretty incredible event to watch to see the crew spring into action and coordinate their efforts to manage the chaos as best as possible.

But what about afterwards? After the frenzy has died down, wine gallons have gone down the drain, and the rest have been relocated into other tanks/vessels? Do you know what details need to be sent to the TTB to inform them of the wine loss?

There is a specific procedure that you’d want to follow in the event of a substantial loss resulting from the type of scenario I mentioned above. Just like your winery will file a claim for the loss with their insurance company you’ll also file a claim with the TTB describing many of the same details.  They want to know because those wine gallons down the drain represent lost revenue to them & they want an explanation for that.

The TTB’s requirements for submitting the claim form (form # 5620.8 by the way) are within 6 months of the accident. That’s a pretty hefty time allowance if you ask me- which can tend to mean the longer you wait to file it the bigger the chances many of the details they require are forgotten.

Here are just some of those details:

  • Full description of how the accident occurred
  • Details of the wine in the tank, tank #, tax class/alcohol, wine blend, start gallons
  • Volume of wine lost, volume of wine saved if any and where it went. (Into a new tank or put in with another blend)

​Essentially all of this information would come directly from a combination of your current inventory records plus the after details supplied to you by the cellar crew who were out there “in the spray” so to speak.

Unpredictable events like this because of their nature can leave wineries at a loss for more than just the gallons of wine. Not knowing that they need to also record and report it to the TTB makes sure they aren’t caught at another loss by any inquiries from the TTB.

Here’s a link to the form :     They also offer a tutorial for it on their website.


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