Our unique hillside, with its multiple soil types and sun exposures, has proven to be one of Napa Valley’s premier sites for growing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Located east of the Silverado Trail and south of Oakville, it has always been the only home of the Signorello Estate wine portfolio.
Farming Our Own Dirt
We believe in the old world philosophy of “winegrowing” called “Vigneron,” which roughly translates to say that our style of winemaking is intimately connected to the soil. Our winemaker is also our vineyard manager while the entire winemaking team also is responsible for growing and harvesting the grapes. Many of this team have cared for the vineyard for over 20 years.
Our first planting, Chardonnay, was in 1980 – a year before the Napa Valley received recognition as an American Viticulture Area (AVA).
Red varietals were planted approximately 10 years later and became the predominant varietals on the property. With a climate generally 5 degrees cooler than St. Helena, our Cabernet Sauvignon style is less jammy yet more complex with the subtle finesse of the European, Bordeaux style.
Acreage by Varietal
Of our 100 acre estate, approximately 42 acres are planted, including 25.6 acres Cabernet Sauvignon, 5.12 acres Chardonnay, 3.18 acres Cabernet Franc, 2.10 acres Syrah, 1.77 acres Merlot, 1.54 acres Semillon, 1.06 acres Sauvignon Blanc, 0.54 acres Viognier.
Soil Types and Vineyard Orientation
Two different soil types can be found on the estate. Hambright-Rock Outcrop can be found on the hillside where our red varietals are planted. Chardonnay is planted in Yolo Loam on the valley floor, because we own the entire hillside, the plantings range up one side and down the other. Cabernet Sauvignon has the advantage of both east-side facing vines that enjoy the sun’s earlier, softer rays and west-side facing vines that generate strong tannin structure in the afternoon sun.
Throughout the growing season the vines are carefully monitored. Double-cordon, vertical trellising and leaf thinning done in June provides the proper ratio of sunshine to clusters and ensures ripeness at harvest. Cluster thinning reduces the overall tonnage to 1.5 to 2.75 tons per acre (half the normal average in Napa Valley), resulting in concentrated flavor and complexity.
The decision to harvest is based on testing for pH and sugar balance and tasting for ripe flavors. Signorello’s house-style requires ripe fruit, usually picked between 24 and 25 Brix. The grapes are handpicked at night while the fruit is cool. The fruit is gathered into small 30 pound trays so that it will not be crushed under its own weight. Within an hour after picking, the red varietals are de-stemmed, triple-sorted and placed into tanks for cold-soaking. White grapes are gently whole cluster pressed to minimize skin contact and reduce the harsh phenolics. Harvest might happen as early as late August and may not be completed until the end of October.
Sustainable farming practices are used to protect and enhance the ecological integrity of the region, including water and energy conservation, pollution prevention and erosion control. Owl and bluebird boxes are home to natural foragers on insects, gophers and other pests that might harm the grapes. After harvest, discarded stems and skins are repurposed back to the vineyards as compost.