Napa winery breaks ground for tasting room rebuild, marks fire anniversary

A Napa winery's charred remains became a lasting image, illustrating the destruction from the North Bay fires.

Without warning, Signorello Estate went up in flames 30 minutes after the Atlas Fire swept through Silverado trail in Napa on the night of October 8th. The tasting room burned to the ground. Two images captured how it stood before and after.

"It's one thing to lose a building but the vineyards themselves, we have 30-40 year old vines here," said owner, Ray Signorello.

He still remembers the frantic call from his wife saying the winery was on fire. She escaped and no one was injured. 

Riding through the property, he showed us the path of destruction.

"These trees burned right to the ground but some made it," said Signorello. 

The landscape suffered. Somehow the Virgin Mary situated along the dry land remained untouched and thankfully, so did the vines. 

One year and one day later, they're breaking ground and toasting to a new beginning where Signorello says he can finally bring to fruition previous plans to build caves that house the barrels and new modernly designed structures made of fire resistant materials.

"Having our kitchens back and our estate chef back on the property, those are the things we look forward to. It's not going to happen overnight, it's probably going to take two years but that's the light at the end of the tunnel for us," said Signorello. 

Supporters with Napa Valley Vintners say the rebuilding process is inspiring and shows resiliency in the community.

"2017 shouldn't just be known as the year of the wildfires. It should be knows as the year of optimism human sport and being positive and we have some beautiful wines from that vintage to celebrate," said Napa Valley Vintners President and CEO Linda Reiff. 

A small trailer on the property houses intimate tastings five days a week. Signorello says he hopes to have the tasting room back open for wine connoisseurs on October 1, 2020.