The Northern Willamette Valley provides a moderate climate, soils and sites ideal for the culture of noble cool climate wine varietals. The Ponzi family's own vineyards, and those under their management, provide 175 acres of vines featuring a variety of elevations, exposures and soil types. The different sites express distinctive territory and micro-climates. These differences, combined with knowledgeable varietal and clonal selections, are the determinants of the overall expression of varietal flavors, character and ultimate wine structure.
Ponzi Vineyards is strictly committed to respecting the integrity of each vineyard, enhancing and maintaining their individual characteristics. The artistry and signature of Ponzi wines is in the blending of distinct cuvées from these vineyards. All 130 acres of Ponzi-owned vineyards are site-selected, hand-planted and managed by the family and their vineyard manager.
Ponzi Vineyards Sites
An American Viticultural Area, AVA, is a federally approved area defined by geographic features and specific boundaries. In 2001, the large number of Oregon wineries created a need to more specifically inform consumers on the origin of their wines. The Chehalem Mountains AVA was created in 2007. All Ponzi vineyards, with the exception of the original Estate Vineyard, are situated on the North slope of this appellation.
The soil classification in the Chehalem Mountains AVA and Laurelwood is exclusively Laurelwood; composed of basalt base with ice age windblown sedimentary soils. The family feels it is superb for the cultivation of Pinot noir and other cool climate varietals. To garner further recognition and distinction for the wines produced from Laurelwood soils, Maria and Luisa Ponzi submitted a petition to establish a Laurelwood sub-AVA of the Chehalem Mountains.
LAURELWOOD DISTRICT AVA
The Laurelwood American Viticultural Area (AVA) was approved by the TTB on June 3, 2020. It was submitted in 2016 by second generation vintners, Anna Maria and Luisa Ponzi and the Johnson family of neighboring Dion Vineyards in Hillsboro. The Laurelwood District’s boundary is the predominance of a unique soil series recognized as Laurelwood, only found in the North and East facing slope of the Chehalem Mountain and encompassing over 33,000 acres, including the highest elevation in the Willamette Valley at 1633 feet. Laurelwood soil is composed of 15-million-year-old Columbia River basalt base with loess (windblown silt) top layer accumulated over the past 200,000 years. The Ponzi Family has been farming this area for 50 years and feels confident this soil is uniquely expressed in its wines. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi notes Pinot noirs reflect blue and black fruit, spice and rustic tannins, while Chardonnays present white floral aromas, brilliant acidity and salinity. This designation will enable wineries to better tell the story of this distinct region and differentiate wines from those of the surrounding areas.
With more than 40 years of farming experience, Winemaker Luisa Ponzi now plants all Ponzi Pinot Noir blocks “clonal massale;” a term she developed to define the planting of several dozen clones in a single block. These clones are specially selected for the site and, rather than being planted in an organized fashion, where each clone is known, they are planted at random like wildflowers. This method allows for consistent wines of distinct quality and superior complexity to be produced, despite vintage variability.
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The Ponzi family is committed to maintaining and constantly improving the health of their vineyards, the vineyard workers and the environment.
LIVE - In 2000, Ponzi Vineyards was certified by LIVE, the Oregon program for Low Input Viticulture and Enology. The certification recognizes compliance with specific sustainable agricultural practices and products. In 2008, the new Ponzi Vineyards winery became one of the first Oregon wineries to be recognized as LIVE Certified Sustainable.
¡Salud! - Ponzi Vineyards is a founding member of ¡Salud! Oregon Pinot Noir Auction established in 1992. Wineries and a hospital located in the wine country collaborate to present the annual auction of exclusive Pinot noir cuvées. All proceeds are directed to providing comprehensive health services, including dental, to seasonal vineyard workers and their families.
CRC - As a member of the Carbon Reduction Challenge, Ponzi Vineyards is accountable for and actively working toward reducing emissions. The CRC seeks to enlist and inspire businesses to measure and progressively reduce greenhouse gases through a commitment to transparent and verifiable certification and to inform consumers that they can support companies that protect and restore our climate.
Download Sustainable Practices PDF
Ponzi Vineyards maintains long-term contracts with some of the finest grape growers in the Willamette Valley. Each of these vineyards produces fruit with special qualities and characteristics.
See our list of growers >>