Burned to the ground: Inside the Napa wineries gutted by raging wildfires that has devastated the $63billion industry and killed 40 people

Sunday, October 15, 2017
By Paul Martin

The wildfires, the deadliest in California history, have claimed 40 lives so far and have destroyed an estimated 5,700 properties
More than 100,000 people have been evacuated in Sonoma, Napa, Santa Rosa and Calistoga
Entire neighborhoods have been leveled and 214,000 acres of land has been reduced to ash
Among the most high-profile victims of the disaster has been the area’s wine-making industry
In Napa County alone, the industry contributes $13bn to the local economy each year and $50bn to the national coffers
Nicholson’s Ranch winery in Sonoma and the Paras Vineyard on the flank of Mount Veeder sustained serious damage to properties
While wineries suffered property damage to buildings, the vineyards – the lifeblood of the industry – have largely been spared
Ninety per cent of the grape harvest in Sonoma and Napa Counties had already been picked when the fires ignited so smoke damage to fruit has been minimal
‘I’m always trying to find a brighter side to it all – it could have been a lot worse for us,’ said Ray Signorello, the owner of the Signorello Estate

By Ruth Styles In Napa, California
DailyMail.com
15 October 2017

It was late on Sunday evening when Ray Signorello realized something was wrong. His wife Tanya, had spotted flames coming down the hillside towards their Napa Valley wine estate.

The first warning came at 10.45pm – less than an hour later, the winery building containing the family home was on fire and the Signorellos had fled.

By Monday morning, nothing was left of the colonnaded winery building but a blackened heap of rubble dotted with exploded glass bottles, while a formerly picturesque stretch of olive trees on the hill behind had been badly burned.

‘The fire was fueled by 50mph winds so there wasn’t much to stop it,’ Signorello, 54, told DailyMail.com.

‘Fortunately we didn’t have anybody injured here – that’s the most important thing.’

The 40-year-old Signorello Estate, which produces between 5,000 and 6,000 cases of wine each year, is one of 16 wineries wrecked by the monster blazes that have ravaged northern California over the past week.

The wildfires, the deadliest in California history, have claimed 40 lives so far and have destroyed an estimated 5,700 properties – including 2,800 homes in Santa Rosa.

More than 100,000 people have been evacuated in Sonoma, Napa, Santa Rosa and Calistoga, entire neighborhoods have been leveled and 214,000 acres of land has been reduced to ash.

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