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Expensive wine barrels disappear from flooded Abbotsford winery

The Fraser Valley winery is also dealing with substantial damage to their wine and crops.

An Abbotsford winery was submerged in seven feet of water after floodwater came rushing toward the property last month.

Now, Ripples Estate Winery and New Wave Distilling is dealing with thieves and the looming concerns about how it will rebuild. 

Kelsey Mostertman, the head distiller at the family-run business, tells Glacier Media the damage from the November storms has been devastating for her parents. 

“Now, they're just getting rid of all these memories and everything they built,” she says.

Two different homes on the property flooded, plus their entire tasting room and cocktail room. Electric panels are fried and fridges are damaged. But most concerning is valuable product and fruit.

“We have a walk-in cooler that is the size of a small living room that was filled to the top with blueberries for making stock of wine over the wintertime and all those got completely flooded and soaked,” Mostertman says. "So we are looking at some significant loses.”

Vital blueberry bushes on the farm were also destroyed. 

“We don’t know if they’re going to recover; we use our blueberries to make our wine, spirits, our vodka, our gin. If those bushes don’t bounce back, which they very likely won’t, we are looking at least five years till we can make any source of income because blueberry bushes take about five years to be able to produce,” explains Mostertman.

Wine bottles that were in the floodwater are also being thrown out.

"All of our wine bottles have these permeable corks on them so all the wine that got in the floodwater is going to have to be destroyed, all of our wine barrels since they’re made from wood absorb floodwater and all that wine has been spoiled,” she says. 

Rising floodwater also swept away expensive wine barrels from the property. Mostertman and her family drove around, propping the wine barrels up to get them out of the water. 

“The next morning, we went to pick them up and all the barrels were gone. I am hoping it was a mistake and people assumed it was trash,” she says. 

Each barrel is between $200 to $600. Mostertman estimates they lost up to 20 barrels. 

"They come from all different wineries so they don’t have specific markings of our own on them.”

Her family is asking people to stay out of the flooded areas as they try to clean up and recover.

"We have so much traffic coming in and out as it is, and unless you’re coming to help, we really need a little bit of time to just process everything that’s going on without the wandering eye of people driving through,” she says.

It’s not clear how much it will cost the family to fix the winery and property. A GoFundMe fundraiser has been created for them with the hopes of raising $75,000. 

"I’d never want someone to be in our position.”