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Ponzi Vineyards

Ponzi Blog

Ponzi Vineyards
 
June 15, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

Happy Father's Day, Dick Ponzi

Dick Ponzi with Anna Maria and Luisa Ponzi

A father is a man who creates, then nurtures and protects that creation with wisdom and love. We can think of no one who embodies that idea more than Dick Ponzi.

Dick’s entire life has been one of creation: first and foremost a husband and father, he is an engineer, pioneer, educator, brewer, winemaker, builder, lobbyist and mentor. He is one of the founding fathers of the Oregon wine industry and has been a tireless protector it, nurturing the industry into the thriving force it is today. Beyond his career as a PCC educator for decades, he also taught and mentored several winemakers who later went on to build their own wineries.

He is also one of the founding fathers of Oregon’s brewing industry, having established one of the first craft breweries in the state and then lobbying to legalize brewpubs.

When you consider how much Oregon’s wine and beer industries have contributed to the state’s image and economy, you can argue that Dick is one of the founding fathers of Oregon’s booming tourism and culinary industries, too.

So this year for Father’s Day, we raise a glass of fine Oregon Pinot noir to him, and look back with respect and gratitude on all this renaissance man has crafted and raised up.

Dick Ponzi timeline

Time Posted: Jun 15, 2018 at 11:26 AM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
June 8, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

CHARITY OF THE MONTH - JUNE 2018: A HOPE FOR AUTISM

 

THROUGHOUT JUNE 2018, A PORTION OF EVERY TASTING FEE AT PONZI VINEYARDS WILL BE DONATED TO A HOPE FOR AUTISM.

A Hope for Autism (AHFA) has been selected as our Charity of the Month. This organization provides evidence-based treatment to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, helping them achieve their highest potential regardless of their financial situation or insurance plan. Using internationally recognized methods, AHFA positively impacts children’s lives by providing individualized therapy and education for children with autism and related disorders and their families, and strives to assist and educate the community about autism.

This organization was selected as our Charity of the Month by Peter Van Etten, Tasting Room and Club Sales Manager at Ponzi Vineyards. “I selected Hope for Autism for their work with families affected by autism,” says Van Etten. “My wife is currently in a graduate program for speech language pathology and she has helped me become more aware of the different struggles kids and their parents face when diagnosed with autism. As a parent, I could only imagine how difficult it would be and I’m thankful A Hope for Autism can provide these important services to support the families affected by autism.”

We invite you to visit Ponzi Vineyards this month and join us in support of this valuable organization. A portion of every tasting fee will be donated to A Hope for Autism through the end of June.

Time Posted: Jun 8, 2018 at 11:30 AM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
June 4, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

Meet the Maker: Artist Barbara Rawls

 

artist Barbara Rawls

The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards is a wine country hospitality space like no other. Every detail has been thoughtfully planned and even the smallest element has been crafted to reflect the history, values and aesthetics of Ponzi Vineyards and the Willamette Valley. Dedicated to supporting local makers, the Ponzi Family found the perfect visual artist for this project with fine art painter Barbara Rawls.

Previously working in ceramics, Rawls has been painting for 15 years. She works primarily with acrylic, sometimes also incorporating plaster, charcoal, collage and graphite to create complex layers. She marks the work with scribing and scraping tools. “To create history and depth in the surface,” Rawls says.

It’s this depth of history that makes Rawls the right choice for The Laurelwood, a space that pays homage to a rustic past while looking forward into the future. Rawls’ husband once lived at the Ponzi Historic Estate and helped with some of the first vines planted by Ponzi Vineyards. This long connection between the families gives Rawls a truly personal perspective on The Laurelwood and enabled her to create a piece that fit perfectly into the space.

The painting is a triptych and blends abstract landscape with realism, with the Ponzi Historic Estate set among contemporary forms. Larger than most of her work, it is prominently displayed behind the marble bar in The Pearl Room, the intimate reception area of The Laurelwood.

painting in The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards

“The space works really well for my piece,” states Rawls, “with the lighting and the dark wall and the marble.”

This is not the first work Rawls has created for Ponzi Vineyards: two other pieces are displayed in the Tasting Room, where Rawls’ abstract, color-driven shapes complement the modern lines of the room’s design.

painting in Ponzi Vineyards tasting roompainting in the Ponzi Vineyards tasting room

The triptych created for The Laurelwood is a perfect match for this hospitality space grounded in a legacy that has had such an influence on Oregon history and that endures into the future. Rawl’s work resonates that concept by grounding images of the past in strong colors, shapes and textures. In selecting artists and craftspeople for The Laurelwood, Ponzi Vineyards looked for not just skill, but also for people who have an intrinsic understanding of the area and its culture, and who contribute to the elevation of the region’s prominence through their work. Joining Rawls on that roster are a gifted woodworker, ceramicist and metalworker. The synergy of their creations is unique, yet reflective of the past, making The Laurelwood truly one of a kind.

To inquire about The Laurelwood, contact events@ponzivineyards.com or call (503) 628-1227.

Time Posted: Jun 4, 2018 at 1:58 PM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
May 30, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

Meet the Maker: Woodworker Finn Enger

Woodworker Finn Enger

The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards is a wine country hospitality space like no other. Every detail has been thoughtfully planned and even the smallest element has been crafted to reflect the values and aesthetics of Ponzi Vineyards and the Willamette Valley. Dedicated to supporting local makers, the Ponzi Family found the perfect woodworker for this project with Finn Enger.

Enger is a highly skilled finish carpenter and woodworker who has worked with Ponzi Vineyards before on other projects. He works primarily on custom projects doing specialty work, such as with The Laurelwood, where his attention to detail was a crucial skill.

“We take extreme care in making sure things are accurate and put together in the highest possible way,” says Enger of himself and his team.

Ponzi Vineyards is pleased to have partnered with Enger for some of the most impressive features of our new hospitality space, The Laurelwood. The design of The Laurelwood pays tribute to founders Dick and Nancy Ponzi while moving forward into the future under the leadership of sisters Anna Maria and Luisa Ponzi.

The unique elements of The Laurelwood provided Enger with plenty of challenges. Of the large, converging pocket doors, Enger says, “[It] was a pretty interesting endeavour, because there was a lot of detail involved in getting the doors to operate properly.” He laughs, “And they were extremely heavy. It’s … a cool design that turned out really nice.”

converging pocket doors


One of the most striking features of The Laurelwood is the barreled ceiling that stretches uninterrupted for the length of the space. “[It] really stands out as a different feature from other projects that I’ve worked on,” says Enger.

His other favorite detail? “The oak foyer is a cool feature--very warm feeling, very inviting.”

The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards

The warmth of the wood is a perfect match for this hospitality space inspired by the original home of the Ponzi Family. In selecting artists and craftspeople for The Laurelwood, Ponzi Vineyards looked for not just skill, but also for people who have an intrinsic understanding of the area and its culture, and who contribute to the elevation of the region’s prominence through their work. Joining Enger on that roster are a gifted metalworker, ceramicist, architect and painter. The synergy of their creations is unique, yet reflective of the past, making The Laurelwood truly one of a kind.

“It’s nice to see it all come together,” says Enger.

To inquire about The Laurelwood, contact events@ponzivineyards.com or call (503) 628-1227.

Time Posted: May 30, 2018 at 9:23 PM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
May 11, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

Meet the Maker: Metalworker Jeff Whitaker of Jeffmade

Jeff Whitaker of Jeffmade

The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards is a wine country hospitality space like no other. Every detail has been thoughtfully planned and even the smallest element has been crafted to reflect the values and aesthetics of Ponzi Vineyards and the Willamette Valley. Dedicated to supporting local makers, the Ponzi Family found the perfect metalworker for this project with Jeff Whitaker of Jeffmade.

Whitaker has been working with metal for 25 years, initially as an artist using it to express abstract ideas. Taking inspiration from the natural world, he made objects that looked as though they had been grown or eroded rather than made with tools. He began receiving requests to use his skills to craft more utilitarian objects. Though he resisted at first, seeing such projects as a potential distraction from his artistic work, he discovered there was not a compromise at all between art and function. Rather, he discovered he enjoyed working within project parameters.

door hardware by Jeff Whitaker

He now takes on a variety of projects, striving for elegant design utilizing these powerful materials to create something that remains beautiful forever. This devotion to his craft has attracted a client list that reads like a “Best of Portland” list: Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, Mediterranean Exploration Company and Pine State Biscuits, to name just a few.

Ponzi Vineyards is very pleased to have partnered with Jeffmade for some of the most impressive features of our new hospitality space, The Laurelwood. The design of The Laurelwood pays tribute to founders Dick and Nancy Ponzi while moving forward into the future under the leadership of sisters Anna Maria and Luisa Ponzi. Whitaker’s work resonates that concept with elegant designs grounded in strong materials that still possess their natural characteristics.

display cabinet by Jeff Whitaker


Whitaker initially worked with Ponzi Vineyards during our construction of the Tasting Room, creating the door hardware and fireplace screen. It was a natural choice to bring him back to work on The Laurelwood. For this ambitious project, he created the fireplace that is the focal point of the space, as well as the door hardware, the metal facing, and the truly impressive display cabinet.

steel facing by Jeff Whitaker

The permanence of steel is such a perfect match for this hospitality space grounded in a legacy that has had such an influence on Oregon history and that endures into the future. In selecting artists and craftspeople for The Laurelwood, Ponzi Vineyards looked for not just skill, but also for people who have an intrinsic understanding of the area and its culture, and who contribute to the elevation of the region’s prominence through their work. Joining Whitaker on that roster are a gifted woodworker, ceramicist and architect. The synergy of their creations is unique, yet reflective of the past, making The Laurelwood truly one of a kind.

To inquire about The Laurelwood, contact events@ponzivineyards.com or call (503) 628-1227.

Time Posted: May 11, 2018 at 11:41 AM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
May 2, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

CHARITY OF THE MONTH - MAY 2018: HENDERSON HOUSE

THROUGHOUT MAY 2018, A PORTION OF EVERY TASTING FEE AT PONZI VINEYARDS WILL BE DONATED TO HENDERSON HOUSE.

Henderson House has been selected as our Charity of the Month. This organization is comprised of advocates, preventers, supporters and allies who develop programs to connect people to resources, educate about the realities of violence and sexual assault experiences, and shed light on social injustices. They provide a wide range of crucial services, including leading support groups, assisting clients with filling out protection order paperwork, assisting clients with escape from dangerous situations, and much more.

Their mission is to provide culturally aware outreach, education and services for victims of domestic and sexual violence through leadership, hope and respect for thriving families.

This organization was selected as our Charity of the Month by Val Hoxie, Operations and HR Manager at Ponzi Vineyards. “This is a cause close to my heart,” says Hoxie. “I think people tend to forget this is something that occurs all the time, to people in every walk of life. If there’s any chance to help, I’m in.”

We invite you to visit Ponzi Vineyards this month and join us in support of this valuable organization. A portion of every tasting fee will be donated to Henderson House.

Time Posted: May 2, 2018 at 9:59 AM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
May 1, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

Celebrate The Laurelwood with the 2014 Sparkling Brut Rosé

The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards is officially open!

To celebrate this grand occasion, we are releasing our 2014 Ponzi Sparkling Brut Rosé. Made from a blend of 70% Pinot noir and 30% Chardonnay grown in a Goldilocks vintage – not too hot, not too cold, not too rainy. Everything was just right! The fruit comes from our highest elevation site at Merten Vineyards and our oldest vines at the original Ponzi Estate Vineyard.

"An  aromatic nose of strawberry cream, crushed hibiscus and magnolia mingle with  hints of fresh cranberry and pastry cream. The broad mouth of dried apricot and quince is balanced by juicy acidity and a hint of Frangelico."
– Winemaker Luisa Ponzi

Ponzi Vineyards’ first sparkling wine production was in 1996 to celebrate the birth of the first Ponzi Grandchild. From that experience, and realization of the skill and labor that goes into sparkling wine, it was not repeated until 2008. That particular year was the first vintage at our new winery and a real cause for celebration. It made perfect sense to release the 2014 vintage to celebrate The Laurelwood, our stunning new hospitality space where modern elegance meets rustic roots set against stunning vineyard and valley view.

The 2014 Ponzi Sparkling Brut Rosé is available online and in our Tasting Room, located just outside Portland. We are open daily 11-5:30 pm. Stop in to visit and pick up a bottle of this special wine. Cheers to The Laurelwood!

To learn more about the process of making sparkling wine, check out our post on the bottling of the 2014 Ponzi Sparkling Brut Rosé.

 

Time Posted: May 1, 2018 at 2:05 PM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
April 26, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

Italy's Little Rascal and Little Sweet One--Ponzi Arneis and Dolcetto

Piedmont, Italy

Piedmont is in Italy's northwest and borders Switzerland and France. True to the meaning of its name (foot of the mountain), Piedmont is a land of mountains. It is surrounded on three sides by the Alps, with the highest peaks and largest glaciers in Italy. Yet, the Mediterranean Ocean is less than 15 miles away. The temperature variation between the cold mountains and the warm ocean causes the region to fill with fog in the morning, slowly burning off over the course of the day. Because of this, land at higher altitudes on the hills receive more sunlight, making those the best sites for growing grapes.

Considered one of the world’s great winemaking regions, Piedmont is sometimes called the Burgundy of Italy. The region is most famous for its red wines, particularly Barolo, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto. However, it also is a strong producer of whites, most notably Moscato d’Asti, and it is the native home of the very rare Arneis.

The Ponzi Family Brings Piedmont to Oregon

During one of many trips to visit the Currado family of the historic 143-year-old  Vietti Winery, the Ponzi Family was delighted by the flavors and balance of the Arneis, a white wine whose name means “Little Rascal”, and by the dry spicy flavors of Dolcetto, a red whose name means “Little Sweet One.” They surmised that the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon would provide the ideal growing conditions for these Italian varietals, as both areas sit right on the 45th parallel north latitudinally and experience similar weather conditions due to comparable distances from mountains and oceans. They planted five acres of Arneis and two acres of Dolcetto in the early 1990s, becoming one of only a handful of American producers of these unusual wines, a status that remains today.

Little Sweet One

Dolcetto is neither little nor sweet. In fact, it’s quite dry. The name refers to this wine’s naturally low acidity. Dolcetto grapes ripen early, producing bold wines with deep color. It is also sometimes called Nera Dolce and Ormeasco. In its native Piedmont, Dolcetto often takes a backseat to the more popular Barbera and Nebbiolo grapes, but Dolcetto is relatively hardy and will ripen on lesser vineyard sites where those other grapes would struggle. It happily ripens just about anywhere, and when planted in quality sites the character of this wine really shines. If you’ve tried Dolcetto and been underwhelmed by it, it may be you’ve sampled one from a less-than-ideal vineyard.

Upon discovering Dolcetto, the Ponzi Family planted two acres of it in 1992 in the Aurora vineyard, located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The Aurora vineyard has a consistent history of producing beautiful fruit and is a great site for this varietal. In such a vineyard, and under the care of master Winemaker Luisa Ponzi, the Ponzi Dolcetto is a delightful, flavorful wine.

Profile
  • Nose: Amarena cherries, spiced plum, cassis, lilac
  • Flavors: Bold dark cherry, coffee, raspberry, brioche
  • Mouth: Light acidity, long finish, lingering tannins
  • Alcohol: 13.8%
  • Process: The grapes are hand picked, sorted and destemmed. The wine is pressed before dryness and moved to neutral French oak, then aged for 18 months before bottling.
Pairing

Dolcetto is considered a light, easy-drinking red wine. It pairs well with pasta, pizza and strong-flavored cold cuts like salami.

Buy Now

Ponzi Vineyards makes very limited quantities of Dolcetto every year. It is only available online and in our Tasting Room.

Little Rascal

Arneis earned the moniker “Little Rascal” due to its reputation for being rather difficult to grow. When you master it, as Winemaker Luisa Ponzi has, it produces a delightful dry wine. This rare varietal was once on the verge of extinction in its native Piedmont, with only two producers growing it in the 1970s, one of which was the Vietti Winery visited by the Ponzi Family. Plantings have since increased in Piedmont and in New World wine regions, but it remains lesser known. Ponzi Vineyards planted five acres of it in 1991 in the Aurora vineyard and remain one of the few producers growing it in the United States.

Profile
  • Nose: Perfumed, with persimmon, quince, apricot, lemongrass, powdered sugar
  • Flavors: Light honey, toasted almond, key lime
  • Mouth: Bright, lithe
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Process: Grapes are whole-cluster pressed and the juice settles for 24 hours. It is then moved to stainless steel and fermented at very low temperatures. It is lightly filtered before bottling.
Pairing

Arneis pairs beautifully with seafood, white meats (like turkey or chicken) and creamy cheeses.

Buy Now

Ponzi Vineyards makes very limited quantities of Arneis every year. It is only available online and in our Tasting Room.

 

Time Posted: Apr 26, 2018 at 4:06 PM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
April 24, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

Meet the Maker: Sarah Wolf Ceramics

Photo by Ellie Baygalov

The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards is a wine country hospitality space like no other, and the attention to every detail has been meticulous. Local food and flavors will be served here to gatherings large and small, and the dinnerware had to be beautiful while reflecting the aesthetics and values of the Willamette Valley. Dedicated to supporting local makers, Anna Maria Ponzi found the perfect plates in the open-air studio of the talented ceramic artist, Sarah Wolf.

With a background in geochemistry, Wolf decided to return to school and earned a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Ceramics at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Working from her studio in Northwest Portland, she is quickly earning a loyal following with her unique ceramic dinnerware and vases. Her designs are minimalist and modern, with a slight folk-art feel that is very contemporary.

Ponzi Vineyards is very pleased to have partnered with Wolf Ceramics  on such a special custom dinnerware set for use in our new hospitality space, The Laurelwood. The design of The Laurelwood pays tribute to founders Dick and Nancy Ponzi while moving forward into the future under the leadership of sisters Anna Maria and Luisa Ponzi. Wolf’s work resonates that concept in a marriage of rustic feel and modern lines. Gatherings held in The Laurelwood will not only be hosted in one of the finest hospitality spaces in the Willamette Valley, they will also dine in style on dinnerware crafted by this gifted artist.

Ceramics and winemaking both are equal parts art and science. As a native Oregonian, Wolf is a perfect choice for this space built by a family so deeply rooted in the region. In selecting other artists and craftspeople, Ponzi Vineyards looked for not just skill, but also for people who have an intrinsic understanding of the area and its culture, and who contribute to the elevation of the region’s prominence through their work. Joining Wolf in The Laurelwood are a gifted woodworker, metalworker and architect (stay tuned for their stories soon). The synergy of their creations is unique, yet reflective of the past, making The Laurelwood truly one of a kind.

To inquire about The Laurelwood, contact events@ponzivineyards.com or call (503) 628-1227.

Time Posted: Apr 24, 2018 at 4:31 PM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
April 22, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

Bud Break and Shoot Thinning: Sustainable Farming, Thoughtful Viticulture

Bud break at Ponzi VineyardsHappy Earth Day! We are delighted that this annual event supporting environmental protection coincides with our announcement of bud break at Ponzi Vineyards.

Chardonnay bud break at Ponzi VineyardsOn April 20th, we had reports from our Vineyard Manager Miguel Ortiz of bud break of Chardonnay Clone 96 in the Avellana vineyard (pictured right). We also had bud break of Arneis in our Aurora vineyard (pictured above). These sweet buds signal another year of life and growth for Ponzi Vineyards.

With nearly 50 years experience farming in the Willamette Valley, the Ponzi Family intimately understands the importance of protecting the natural environment. Climate change is a reality that can affect how grapes grow and ripen. To ensure that these historic vineyards thrive in an increasingly unpredictable climate, the experienced vineyard team pays constant attention to the vines. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi believes that natural farming practices are an essential element of Oregon’s unique terroir. For Ponzi Vineyards, this unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship includes using earth-friendly practices in all areas of its business:

“When I come to work in the morning and see these little sweeties, I blow them a kiss and thank them for returning another year,” says Winery President and second-generation vintner Anna Maria Ponzi.

  • Our Collina del Sogno property (where our winery, tasting room and Avellana vineyard are located) was one of the first Oregon facilities awarded the LIVE Winery Certification, meeting LIVE specifications for an eco-friendly building and sustainable winemaking practices.
  • Our vineyards are certified Salmon-Safe certified.
  • The winery maximizes the natural contours of the hilltop site on which it’s located for light, temperature control, gravity-flow processing, water retention and recycling.

These environmentally friendly practices help ensure we have bud break next year, and every year after that. For a detailed list of our sustainable practices, click here.

Shoot Thinning

The arrival of the buds means it’s time for the vineyard crew to begin the meticulous process of shoot thinning. Shoot thinning is the first step to balancing yield. The canes--previously pruned and tied--must now be carefully examined and every bud counted. The crew will pluck off the new buds, leaving just five per cane. With two canes per plant, each will have ten buds. These buds will grow into shoots that develop two or three clusters each. When these clusters form, the crew will again work through the vineyard, thinning down to one cluster per shoot, for a total of ten clusters per plant.

The thinning process ensures that every plant focuses on developing ten amazing clusters, rather than trying to grow twenty or thirty clusters of lesser quality. The plant’s resources are not spread thin, and the resulting crop is one of quality, not quantity.

This is thoughtful work and the crew moves slowly, counting and carefully choosing which buds to keep and which to remove. Every single vine is touched by human hands, a reminder of our direct connection to the earth. If we are gentle and thoughtful, it will continue to sustain us.

Cover Crop

In between each row is a riot of growth: blades of grass, pops of purple flowers, yellow flowers. With the buds on the grapevines, these wildflower-looking plants also burst into life. This is our cover crop, also sometimes called “green manure”. Among them are legumes--sweetpea, fava beans, vetch--as well as grasses, red clover and mustard. Once they fully bloom, they will be tilled into the soil, providing the grapevines with a rich source of nitrogen. A natural fertilizer, it’s right in line with the Ponzi Vineyard’s commitment to sustainability and gentle stewardship of the land.  

And they’re really pretty, too.

Happy Earth Day

We hope you will celebrate this Earth Day and bud break at Ponzi Vineyards with us. Have a glass of LIVE-certified, Salmon-Safe, gravity-flow wine and give thanks and respect to this beautiful world we inhabit. Cheers!

Vineyard Series:
Time Posted: Apr 22, 2018 at 5:19 PM