Personal Space: Ray Signorello Jr.
December 4, 2012
Photo credit: Lucas Finlay
1. Passionate, zealous, obsessed; a connoisseur, a collector—Signorello, 48, splits his time between childhood home West Vancouver and birthplace San Francisco, where he returned after graduating from UBC Commerce in 1988. He holds his Signorello Hope’s Cuvée (made in honour of his mother), a deeply fruited, lavishly oaked Chardonnay with a dramatic mineral character.
2. Each fall, Signorello hosts a New York dinner benefitting Meals on Wheels with friend and wine guru Robert Parker Jr. (This framed menu recalls 2011 at Daniel.) Parker’s definitive Wine Buyer’s Guide’s early praise for Signorello Estate catapulted it into the big leagues. Other influential appearances? His Chardonnay, Pinot, and Cabernet have all starred at White House state dinners.
3. In 1977 dad Ray Signorello Sr. (a local mining exec) bought 100 acres along Napa’s elite Silverado Trail for a holiday home, planting grapes for decoration then selling them to famous neighbours like Cakebread and Caymus. When he finally built his own winery, son Ray Jr. walked away from a career in commercial real estate to join up. The flagship Bordeaux blend Signorello Padrone remembers Ray Sr., who died in 1998.
4. Alongside his own vintages, Signorello Jr. collects port (especially the sumptuous 1963 vintage), rare bottles of Tokaji Essencia (like this 2001), and plenty of Burgundy. Signorello was the original owner and architect of California Cult Classics, Canada’s first (still operating) premium-wine club. He went on to create Edge, Fuse, and Tim wines and most recently, Evolution Fine Wines, an importer for B.C. and Alberta.
5. The British Properties home sports two cellars, kept at 11.5°C and 70 percent humidity, with about 4,000 bottles between them. Adjacent is the living room, with beige-felted pool table, oversize fireplace, and sliding door to the terrace, pool, and hot tub.