At the Signorello Estate winery in Napa, California, a sign said “open” on Tuesday. But behind the gate, the 40-year-old, family-run winery had been reduced to rubble and ash.
Massive wildfires scorched Northern California wine country early this week, destroying more than 2,000 homes, buildings, and other structures. Hot, dry winds spread the flames across fields and freeways in the counties of Napa, Sonoma, and six others. At least 17 people are dead in one of the worst firestorms in state history.
Signorello Estate was among the wineries burned in the blaze. These photos of the fire-ravaged winery give us a glimpse of the devastation in wine country.
Established in 1977, Signorello Estate winery sits high in the hills off the Silverado Trail.
One of the few family owned wineries in Napa, Signorello is known for its wine and food pairings and gorgeous hillside views.
Early Monday, the Atlas Peak fire climbed the ivy-covered walls of the winery, sparking the surrounding landscape before finally swallowing the main building.
Ronald Plunkett, the estate sommelier, posted a photo on Facebook that showed the winery engulfed in flames. “I can’t even put into words the devastation I am feeling,” he wrote on Facebook.
“This is Signorello Estate the place I have called home for over two years,” Plunkett wrote.
Owner Ray Signorello was away on a trip when the fire hit. He returned to the property to find it destroyed on Wednesday morning, a winery spokesperson told Business Insider.
The main building has been leveled, leaving behind metal framing and pieces of foundation.
A photo taken before the fire shows the Signorello Estate’s patio for wine club members, which looked out over an infinity pool and featured sweeping views of the valley.
All that remains of the patio are pillars.
Here’s what the entrance to the property looked like before the flames arrived.
Burned pieces of the stone wall still stand.
But it’s nearly unrecognizable.
A photo taken inside a tasting room at the winery shows a circular window.
Looking in through the window, it appears the tasting room has been reduced to rubble.
The infinity pool was one of the estate’s main attractions.
Today, it looks like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie.
Winemaker Pierre Birebent and a few vineyard workers arrived at the Signorello Estate as the fire began. They did their best to water the surrounding landscape and dampen the blaze, but the creeping flames forced them to push back and watch from the perimeter.
In a Facebook post, Signorello wrote that the 2015 vintage of red wines and 2016 vintage of white wines were stored off site at the time and were not harmed in the fire.
The tank area — used for fermenting wine — escaped a considerable amount of damage, but Birebent said that he has yet to assess the stored wine for heat damage.
Bottles of wine on site were also destroyed.
A spokesperson for Signorello Estate told Business Insider that, luckily, the vineyards escaped damage. The winery does not expect to lose next year’s vintage wines.
Signorello Estate is among at least five wineries that sustained damage in the fires. With the blaze still burning, many winemakers have been unable to return to their properties.
“We are eventually going to rebuild and are hopeful for the future,” Birebent told BI.
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