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Plans begin to rebuild Signorello after fire

Ray Signorello Jr has hired Taylor Lombardo Architects and Nordby Construction Company to design and rebuild the estate.‘After a great deal of research, I am thrilled to align Signorello Estate with these two local, award-winning firms,’ said Ray Signorello Jr. Both companies have worked on other Napa wineries, including Silver Oak and Inglenook respectively.

The new design will be an open, modern structure taking advantage of the site and location of Signorello. New features include ‘cave facilities’; an estimated 8000 sq ft space for ageing wines, along side hospitality space. The new winery will also include a professional kitchen, allowing for extensive food and wine pairings as part of the visitor experience.

‘The world saw Signorello Estate as the face of the Napa Valley fire,’ said Tom Taylor and Maurice Lombardo, partners of Taylor Lombardo Architects.‘Soon they will see it as a leading symbol of this region’s comeback.’

‘We can move Signorello Estate beyond our recent setbacks and towards a brighter future,’ said Signorello.



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Signorello Estate is a one-of-a-kind reflection of a wholly unique Napa Valley hillside vineyard and terroir. Planted and cultivated by the Signorello Family since 1977, these grapes are the foundation of their richly structured, intensely flavored Estate wines. Ray Signorello, Jr. has left no stone unturned, no philosophy unexplored, no ancient or modern viticulture and winemaking idea untried in his decades-long quest to produce the perfect Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for his customers.


Starting the Venture

Ray’s father, Ray Sr., initiated the vineyard project during the mid1970’s by purchasing the 100-acre estate located on the Silverado Trail in the beautiful Napa Valley. His original plan was to grow quality grapes to sell to existing wineries, but the harvest of 1985 changed this plan into a new level of evolvement. The bountiful Chardonnay crop allowed the Signorellos to custom crush the excess grapes. This opportunity demonstrated what fabulous wine their vineyards were capable of producing. The project continues to evolve as do the spectacular 42 acres planted in several different varietals.


The Growers Also Become Winemakers

In 1986 the Signorellos began the second phase of the venture by building the main winery structure. This beautiful building was used for barrel storage, wine tasting and retail sales. Along with the winery building, wine production was expanded to include Cabernet Sauvignon. By the end of the 1980′s the Signorello family was thoroughly committed to making wine as well as growing grapes.


Ray Signorello Jr. began his journey as winemaker and vineyard owner in the Napa Valley during the mid1980’s. Ray, born in San Francisco, California, moved to Vancouver, Canada where the Signorello family continues to maintain a home. Ray divides his time between Napa, San Francisco, Vancouver and business related travel.


Cabernet Sauvignon Joins the Portfolio

The decade of the nineties proved to be pivotal for Signorello Estate. In 1990 the first planting of Cabernet Sauvignon began and quickly became the dominant varietal of the estate.  At the same time, small parcels of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah were planted.


Father and son worked together, establishing the winery’s reputation for excellence until Ray Sr.’s passing in the fall of 1998.


The Dream Is Realized

What brought the Signorellos to the Napa Valley was the romantic side of winemaking- growing grapes, working the land, and enjoying the wine country lifestyle of camaraderie, good wine and great meals. While the Valley lifestyle is a very real part of the business, there is a serious commitment to creating a premier vineyard and producing world-class wines. Both father and son embraced this vision early in the endeavor.


This venture started as a dream; now it is reality. Ray, Jr. has started the third generation of the Signorello family and looks forward to continuing to push the benchmark that defines quality Napa Valley wine.

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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.


Napa Green

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.


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Devotion is the word that best describes the intense attention the vineyards and wine receive to produce limited quantities of world-class wines. We blend classic French wine making methods with Napa Valley fruit to achieve lush, concentrated, complex fruit flavors and balanced structure. Our goal is to create wines with early accessibility as well as the potential to develop additional complexity as they mature.


Winemaking Style

Signorello Estate’s style of winemaking is based on the idea of “winegrowing” described by a French word “Vigneron.” It means that everything done in the vineyards is intimately connected to the winemaking. Our winemaker is also our vineyard manager while the entire winemaking team also is responsible for growing and harvesting the grapes.


Triple Sorting

Crafting our red varietals into wine starts the moment the grapes reach the crush pad.  Just harvested grapes ascend the first ramp, passing under the eyes of the crew who discard leaves and other non-grape matter.  After being de-stemmed, the grapes are gently rocked to discard tiny, unripe berries.  The final ramp carries the grapes past the eye of eight more workers hand-sorting for under or overripe fruit.  Only the most perfect estate grapes make it to fermentation.



Once sorted, the grapes are put into four and eight-ton fermenters and cold-soaked to extract significant color and tannin before fermentation actually begins. The cap, (skins and pulp that rise to the surface during fermentation) is pumped over twice per day and the wine goes through extended maceration periods to allow for a more natural balance of fruit and tannins. The wine is then racked into French oak barrels (medium-plus toast from Saury, Nadalie, Tarransaud, and Darnajou).


The white varietals begin barrel fermentation with the grapes’ own native yeast which produces a wine with more complexity, individuality and personality plus a broader, creamier texture. After two to four weeks – when alcoholic fermentation is complete – 50% of the Chardonnay is inoculated and undergoes malolactic fermentation in barrels. The Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are not inoculated for malolactic fermentation.



The Cabernet Sauvignon is racked selectively, approximately four times before bottling. The white wines are also selectively fined and racked just before bottling. This careful handling allows the wines subtleties and finer nuances to stay intact. All of the wines are bottles without filtration


The time the wine spends in the oak barrels varies according to varietal. Cabernet Sauvignon remains in the barrels an average of 22 months while the whites remain in barrels for approximately 11 months. We do not filter our wines before bottling.


Our Wines

All of our wines are estate grown, produced and bottle by Signorello Estate.  Learn more about our Padrone, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Hope’s Cuvée Chardonnay, and Seta. As well as our Athena and Alessandra, named after the third generation of the Signorello family.

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  • Ray Signorello

    Winemaking isn't just what we do, it's who we are. And it shows in our wines.


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 Signorello Vineyards  has news

Plans begin to rebuild Signorello after fire Ray Signorello Jr has hired Taylor Lombardo Architec  more ...

3m 25d ago

 Jon Grant / Sommelier, Pro (Mexico)  tasted  1 wines  from  Signorello Vineyards . In a tasting of  17 wines 

“Blanket 2010 / Good looking normal size bottle and is in a excellent condition. Colour is ruby red, and looking healthy, evolved and deep. On the nose it is wide, refined and seductive. The taste is focused, elegant, fragrant, and average in acidity, full-bodied, with balanced, good texture, complex structure and developing. On the palate it is layered and has floral, mineral, tobacco, violet, herbs, honey and leather flavours. The finish is long, round, flavorful and vibrant. This wine is sophisticated, transparent and excellent. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 10-15 years and decant at least 2h before tasting.”

2y 6m ago

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