France's Bollinger family has appointed industry veteran Jean-Baptiste Rivail as CEO of Ponzi Vineyards, the Oregon-based winery the family acquired for an undisclosed sum last year. Rivail will also serve as executive vice president of the Bollingers' SJB USA, charged with further developing French wine brands Champagne Bollinger, Champagne Ayala, Domaine Chanson, and Langlois-Chateau in the U.S. market.
Rivail was most recently general manager of LVMH's Newton Vineyards in the Napa Valley. Etienne Bizot, chairman and CEO of the Bollinger family group, said Rivail's “knowledge of the U.S. market and his proven experience in running a successful winery will be a great asset to lead Ponzi Vineyards and to support the development of our other brands.” His appointment is effective today. New York-based importer and marketer Vintus handles the Bollinger family's wine brands in the U.S., including Ponzi, which has annual production of around 30,000 cases.
PORTLAND, OREGON, October 4, 2021 -- The Bollinger family is pleased to announce the appointment of Jean-Baptiste Rivail as CEO of Ponzi Vineyards and Executive Vice President of SJB USA. Owners of iconic Champagne Bollinger in addition to four other historic estates in France (Chanson Père & Fils in Burgundy, Langlois-Chateau in the Loire Valley, Ayala in Champagne and Delamain in Cognac), completed the acquisition of Ponzi Vineyards in May 2021. Mr. Rivail will officially assume his position on October 4, 2021.
“It is an honor that the Bollinger and Ponzi families have placed their confidence in me as we begin this new chapter for Ponzi Vineyards,” shares Rivail. “I feel both great responsibility and excitement in leading a winery with such an immense regional legacy as Ponzi has in Oregon and great excitement to join the family of brands represented by SJB. I look forward to working alongside Luisa Ponzi as well as the SJB family to accelerate Ponzi’s growth while maintaining the quality and style for which the winery is beloved.”
As the first non-family member to serve as CEO of Ponzi Vineyards, Rivail will work with head winemaker Luisa Ponzi to continue the estate’s legacy of quality, innovation, and sustainability. He will also continue work with the Ponzi family at large, who retain 100 acres of local vineyards upon which they will grow and sell grapes to Ponzi Vineyards under long-term contract.
“It Is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Jean-Baptiste to Ponzi Vineyards,” Luisa Ponzi explains. “I personally look forward to working with him to continue the legacy of great wines and leadership in the industry that my family helped establish over 50 years ago. Between the Bollinger ownership, Jean-Baptiste’s expertise and the continuation of winemaking, the winery is in very good hands.”
Rivail brings a rich resume in the world of fine wine, wine distribution and international management to his role at Ponzi Vineyards. He has deep family roots in the industry dating back to the 1800s, when his family started as wine merchants in France. After leading international sales for Champagne Vranken-Pommery, Mr. Rivail was hired by Moet-Hennessy and the LVMH group to steer international developments for Hennessy Cognac across the Americas. He most recently held the position of General Manager for the group’s iconic Newton Vineyards in Napa Valley.
In addition to his responsibilities at Ponzi Vineyards, Jean-Baptiste has also been appointed Executive Vice President SJB USA. In this role, Rivail will lead development of the group’s French wine brands in the U.S.: Champagne Bollinger, Champagne Ayala, Domaine Chanson, and Langlois-Chateau.
Etienne Bizot, Bollinger Family Group chairman and CEO shares: “We are thrilled to bring the talents of Jean-Baptiste Rivail to Ponzi Vineyards (our new acquisition in Oregon) and to the Bollinger group. His great knowledge of the U.S. market and his proven experience in running a successful winery will be a great asset to lead Ponzi Vineyards and to support the development of our other brands."
ABOUT PONZI VINEYARDS
The Ponzi family was instrumental in putting Oregon on the map as a premier wine growing region in the United States and across the world. In the late 1960s, Dick and Nancy Ponzi uprooted their young family to pursue a dream of producing world class Pinot Noir. Ponzi Vineyards was founded in 1970, and the first 4 barrels of wine were produced in 1974. At the time, there were 5 bonded wineries in Oregon with only 35 vineyard acres in production. The family legacy continued for over three decades through the leadership of sisters, Anna Maria and Luisa Ponzi, who successfully grew the operation through their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.
ABOUT THE BOLLINGER FAMILY
In addition to the iconic Champagne Bollinger, the Bollinger family owns the following leading historic French producers: Champagne Ayala, founded in 1860, and specialist in Chardonnay-dominant Champagnes; Domaine Chanson, founded in 1750, owner of 111 acres of Premier and Grand Cru vineyards in the heart of Burgundy; Langlois-Chateau, founded in 1885, a leading historical producer of Cremant and now also with important Sancerre holdings, all together totaling 175 acres in the best parts of the Loire Valley; and Cognac Delamain, founded in 1824, renowned for focusing entirely on the production of highest quality, aged Cognacs, only XO and above.
Keep Oregon Green® is collaborating with Union Wine Co. and six of Oregon’s top wineries to introduce a limited production Oregon Pinot Noir cuvee with 100% of sales going toward wildfire relief and prevention.
Since 1941, the non-profit Keep Oregon Green Association has promoted healthy landscapes and safe communities by educating the public of our shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfires in the state. Over 70% of Oregon’s wildfire ignitions are attributed to people’s daily activities. This collaborative wine project is an opportunity to increase awareness among wine lovers of the need to prevent the next wildfire while supporting a worthy cause.
80% of the proceeds of this wine will go to the Oregon Community Foundation’s Community Rebuilding Fund, helping Oregonians whose communities have been leveled by wildfires. The remaining 20% will go to Keep Oregon Green® to help them with their mission of preventing human-caused wildfires in Oregon through education and engagement.
“The 2020 wildfire season affected Oregon’s wine country, proving it’s not immune to a severe wildfire threat,” said Kristin Babbs, president of the Keep Oregon Green Association. “We are proud to introduce this 100% Oregon-grown pinot noir, where all ingredients and services were donated, and where 100% of the proceeds go toward relief, recovery, and wildfire prevention efforts.”
About the wine: The Oregon Pinot Noir is a blend of Oregon Pinot Noir grapes from Stoller Wine Group, Furioso Vineyards, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Ponzi Vineyards, A to Z Wineworks and Bjornson Vineyards, and packaged by Union Wine Company.
“At Stoller, we have a deep appreciation for our land and desire to support our community,” said Melissa Burr, vice president of winemaking for the Stoller Wine Group. “We were thrilled to participate and collaborate on this project.”
“2020 was a tough year for all of us here in Oregon, but it brought into light how amazing and supportive our wine community really is,” said Darin Dougherty, Marketing Director at Union Wine Company. “We can always find ways to learn, grow and be more aware of the impact we have on our ever-changing environment. We’re so excited to support Keep Oregon Green’s mission to drive awareness around human caused wildfires.”
Whether at home, on the job, or out having fun, Keep Oregon Green reminds Oregonians that it’s important to be able to predict the outcome of common outdoor activities that could possibly spark a wildfire. Babbs said that as the state’s population continues to grow, urban boundaries expand, and wildfires increase in frequency, intensity and cost, Keep Oregon Green’s message is more important than ever. “The power and responsibility of wildfire rests squarely in our hands.”
To learn more about important wildfire prevention safety tips and current fire conditions and restrictions, go to www.keeporegongreen.org.
Summertime is nearly here, and no wine better fits the season than a bottle of chilled rosé! With National Rosé day just a day away, we wanted to provide an insider's look at how a bottle of Ponzi Vineyards Rosé makes it from vine to glass.
In order to understand Rosé wines, we must first look at what causes that rosy namesake color. This type of wine is defined by the amount of time it sits on its skins. Rosé is a designation rather than a varietal, so it can be made from many different types of grapes.
At Ponzi Vineyards, Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes with an eye towards cooler sites which retain juicy, vibrant acidity. This vintage is a blend from a cooler block at Aurora Vineyard and another cool site near the Pacific Coast Range, called Ten Peaks Vineyard.
Once the fruit makes it to the first floor of our gravity flow winery, clusters are destemmed and allowed to sit on their skins for less than 24 hours. This technique causes the lighter pink shade we prefer for Ponzi Rosés. The wine is then transferred by gravity to the third level of the winery for a long, cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks before being bottled.
Bright flavors of ripe strawberries and cream, lush apple and refreshing acidity characterize a glass of 2019 Ponzi Pinot Noir Rosé. This wine pairs beautifully with clear skies, a vineyard view and a variety of fruits, seafood and cheeses.
Try a glass or a flight including this wine when you make a reservation at the Ponzi Vineyards Tasting Room. The ideal way to begin a day spent wine tasting in Oregon's Laurelwood District AVA. Purchase a bottle online here or prepare for Summer with our limited edition Rosé Day Trio.
Cheers | Salud | Santé
AŸ, FRANCE, April 7, 2021 – The Bollinger family, owners of iconic Champagne Bollinger in addition to four other historic estates in France, announce the upcoming acquisition of their first winery in the United States, with the purchase of Oregon’s famed Ponzi Vineyards. The transaction will unite the Bollinger family with the Ponzi family, building on the legacy the Ponzis have established as one of Oregon’s original wineries, leading the success and growth of the region’s Pinot Noir over the last 50 years.
Bollinger family holding group Chairman & CEO Etienne Bizot comments, “The United States is such an important market for luxury Champagne, Burgundy, Sancerre, Cognac, and other regions in which our family owns wineries. If there was anywhere outside of France where we felt it was critical to invest, it is in the U.S. We have quietly considered opportunities for a number of years, but it is finally with the Ponzi family that we feel we have found the ideal fit. Their bold vision to come to Oregon, the subsequent decades of recognition for continually innovating and improving – we have so much respect for what the Ponzis have achieved, and look forward to building on it together, and connecting all our brands more closely with the U.S. market.”
“We have dedicated our lives to demonstrating Oregon’s Willamette Valley as one of the greatest places on the planet for producing cool climate, high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,” remarks Luisa Ponzi, the winery’s recognized leading winemaker who trained in Burgundy. “This transaction makes sense for our respective families because of our well aligned values and shared commitment to producing wines of the very highest quality.”
“It gives us immense satisfaction to have the opportunity to pass our legacy winery on to the Bollinger family, who will continue to elevate the brand on a global scale,” Winery President Anna Maria Ponzi shares. “This is the natural next step for our brand and winery.”
The purchase includes the winery and hospitality facilities 40 minutes from Portland, Oregon in addition to 35 acres of vineyard land in the newly established Laurelwood District AVA. The winery has been an introduction to the region for countless numbers of people through not only visits but major events that the Ponzi family has been instrumental in creating and supporting, such as the International Pinot Noir Celebration, Oregon Pinot Camp and the Salud Pinot Noir Barrel Auction.
Under the leadership of a new CEO, whose recruitment is ongoing, Anna Maria will continue to lead the sales & marketing over the transition period and Luisa will remain as the Director of Viticulture and Winemaking. The Ponzi family will retain 100 acres of vineyard land and will grow and sell the grapes to Ponzi Vineyards under a long-term contract.
VINTUS, current Ponzi Vineyards national sales and marketing agent, and importer of Champagne Bollinger, Champagne Ayala, Domaine Chanson and Langlois-Chateau, will continue to represent Ponzi’s trade distribution in the United States.
The timing of the full transition is subject to customary regulatory processes and approvals.
About the Bollinger Family:
SJB, the holding company of the Bollinger family, is comprised of domains in 4 French wine appellations: Bollinger & Ayala in Champagne, Chanson Père & Fils in Burgundy, Delamain in Cognac and Langlois-Chateau in the Loire Valley. Founded in 1829, it is owned and controlled by the same family since 1829 and will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2029. These domains are all linked to their terroir by owning and farming vineyards. SJB’s mission is to offer consumers around the world great experiences around premium wines from the best wine regions.
About Ponzi Vineyards:
In the late 60’s, Dick and Nancy Ponzi uprooted their young family to pursue a dream of producing world class Pinot Noir and were instrumental in bringing world attention to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Over the past thirty years, the Ponzi daughters have expanded the family vineyards and winery facilities, incorporating innovation into its winemaking, viticulture and hospitality. The entrepreneurial family is also recognized for establishing the state’s first craft brewery in 1984 and one of the valley’s first regional restaurants in 1999, now owned and operated by son and brother, Michel and his family.
After more than two decades of dedicated research and laser focus on Chardonnay, Ponzi Vineyards is among a handful of producers crafting a distinctive style that is unique to our region. The North Willamette Valley cool temperatures present Chardonnays with an unparalleled combination of bright acidity, texture and freshness of fruit on the mid-palate. Second Generation Winemaker Luisa Ponzi’s main goal is to allow the wines to express these characteristics with each vintage.
Over the years, Luisa has had the unique opportunity of consistently working with the estate vineyards and discovered her favorite blocks. In 2012, she felt they should shine on their own and released stunning single vineyard cuvees from Aurora and Avellana Vineyards. She feels these sites represent the “Yin and Yang” of Ponzi Chardonnay as both are exquisite examples of this beautiful white wine grown in the Laurelwood District AVA.
These original planting of the Dijon clone Chardonnay vines are nearly 30 years old. Their roots grow deep into the rich Laurelwood soil found exclusively in the Laurelwood District AVA. The age of vines and ideally situated site provides intense flavors to the finished wine. Aurora Vineyards yields an elegant wine with bright acidity and fruit.
The successes at Aurora Vineyard are expressed at the younger Avellana Vineyard planted in 2006. The site features a fusion of multiple clones and rootstock planted on rich Laurelwood soil. Avellana Vineyards yields a richer, weightier style Chardonnay.
Ponzi Vineyards is proud to produce some of Willamette Valley’s oldest and most iconic wines. The people behind the wines and brand are a huge part of our story. We are honored to introduce you to some of the invaluable members of the Ponzi team. Meet JP Pierce, Associate Winemaker!
How long have you worked on the team at Ponzi Vineyards? Long enough for most of my hair to turn grey! I consider it good seasoning now in this winemaking career. I have been working with Luisa and Maria’s team since 2011.
What is your role at Ponzi Vineyards? I am the Associate Winemaker which means breaker of chemical bonds, king of the tartrate crystal, guardian of toasted French barrel and herder of cats. I am the boots on the ground person, overseeing our wines and their progress, keeping up with Luisa’s direction and supervisor to our production staff. I also manage our production spaces, making sure forward progress continues to happen.
What does a “typical” day look like for you? You can often find me in our lab space with Luisa and our team as we taste through any magnitude of blends or bottlings, lending my critical eye and palate to what I see, taste and experience in our wines. Much of my day I bounce between the floors of our gravity flow production facility, tasting through tanks and barrels, providing management of wine work, jumping in as need, giving insight into maintenance repairs and orchestrating work flow (basically all the stuff behind the scenes).
What do you find most rewarding about the work you do at Ponzi Vineyards? We as a team, make some truly amazing wine and I am passionate about that process. What I really love though is our desire to be innovative and being a part of our new projects.
What are you most looking forward to in our 2019 vintage? Those first few days before the fruit is off the vine in September. It always happens for me in the early-early hours when you can just barely see your breath and you can literally smell the change of climate in the air. It smells like dewy and cool evergreen. It takes me back to my very first vintage, and it’s that pause, right before the adrenaline and organized chaos of harvest starts.
What is one cool or unknown fact that we should know about Ponzi Vineyards? Our recently restored vintage Willmes Red Press, used to be a tinker project of John Scharffenberger (Chocolatier and Winemaker) back in the 1990’s.
You have 10 minutes and one glass of wine. What are you drinking and who are you drinking with? Riesling is my thing, everyone who knows me knows that! I am an acid hound. I would drink a Marc Kreydenweiss Grand Cru 1994 Wiebelsberg Riesling with Marc himself. We’d talk craft, biodynamics and how good the wine in the afterlife is!
Ponzi Vineyards is proud to produce some of Willamette Valley’s oldest and most iconic wines. The people behind the wines and brand are a huge part of our story. We are honored to introduce you to some of the invaluable members of the Ponzi team. Meet Miguel Ortiz, Vineyard Manager!
How long have you worked on the team at Ponzi Vineyards? 25 years
What is your role at Ponzi Vineyards? Vineyard Manager overseeing 130 certified sustainable acres.
What does a “typical” day look like for you? Get up at 5am, have coffee, drive to work and oversee a 15 person crew. I love that every day is different!
What do you find most rewarding about the work you do at Ponzi Vineyards? I grew up working on a farm. I have been doing it my whole life, it is all that I know. I love to see the vines grow each year and love bud break each season.
What are you most looking forward to in our 2019 vintage? I’m looking forward to having a safe growing season for everyone in the company and producing premium grapes for harvest.
What is one cool or unknown fact that we should know about Ponzi Vineyards? I have worked for the Ponzi family for 25 years and very early on I didn’t see any kids around the vineyard. It was just me and Dick and Nancy Ponzi. One summer I saw two women around the vineyard a lot. I found out it was Luisa and Maria Ponzi, I didn’t know even they were part of the family! (Luisa had been in France and Maria was working in Boston, MA)
You have 10 minutes and one glass of wine. What are you drinking and who are you drinking with? Pinot noir and enjoying it with my wife.
Supporting children, particularly those in foster care, is primary to Ponzi Vineyards’ charitable efforts and especially dear to Ponzi Vineyards President, Maria Ponzi. She currently serves on the Project Lemonade board and was previously a member of CASA.
Project Lemonade is a Portland-based nonprofit with a mission to improve the self-esteem of foster youth through a free back-to-school shopping event and foster youth summer internship. Operating for six years, Project Lemonade has served over 12,000 foster youth.
Spring is officially here! To celebrate, we’re offering 3 of our favorite stainless-steel fermented wines at a special price. For a limited time, purchase the 2017 Ponzi Pinot Gris, 2017 Ponzi Pinot Blanc & 2016 Ponzi Riesling together for just $55. This offer ends May 31st.
2017 Ponzi Pinot Gris
“Complex aromatics of honeycomb and jasmine, daphne, lemongrass, white peppercorn and lime zest bound from the glass. The mouth follows with flavors of cara orange, kumquat and juicy pear. The acidity is brilliant and tamed with a touch of sweetness and a very slight phenolic tension in the finish.” –Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
Offered at $19/bottle
(15% off bottles, 20% off cases for members)
2017 Ponzi Pinot Blanc
“Guava, passionfruit, pineapple and star jasmine, laced with white licorice and honeysuckle, give this nose tropical and floral notes. The mouth shows quince, lemon curd and ripe nectarine finishing broad and supple with a touch of slate minerality and fresh acidity.” –Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
Offered at $22/bottle
(15% off bottles, 20% off cases for members)
2016 Ponzi Riesling
“This beautiful nose of candied lime, lemon balm, honeysuckle and a whisper of lychee lead to a textured mouth of nectarine, white pepper and fresh acidity.” –Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
Offered at $22/bottle
(15% off bottles, 20% off cases for members)