At the forefront of viticultural innovation
“Each clone has a personality. When many are combined in a single block, the multitude of characteristics naturally brings complexity and dimension to the wines. By planting these clones at random, like wildflowers, it further relinquishes the question of clone and focuses fully on the terroir of a site.” —Second Generation Winemaker, Luisa Ponzi
What is Clonal Massale?
Over 25 clones of Pinot noir, selected for a specific site, are mixed and planted randomly in a single block. This technique has evolved over two generations with four decades of evaluation and experience working with many different clones. Ponzi Vineyards now has over 30 acres of vines planted to clonal massale.
Download Clonal Massale Illustration
Download Clonal Massale Info Sheet
1975 - A two-acre site named Abetina is planted on its own roots to 22 different Pinot noir clones as part of a clonal test site by Oregon State University. Each vine was tagged and tracked to determine which was best suited to the region. In barrel, this mix of clones is a magical combination, making it a perennial standout in the cellar.
1993 - Luisa Ponzi returns to the winery after completing her enology and viticulture studies in Burgundy to take the reins as winemaker. Upon her return, 10 acres of Dijon clone Pinot noir (113, 114, 115, 667 and 777) are planted at Aurora Vineyard, experimenting with various rootstocks and vine spacing.
2005 - Abetina Vineyard is preserved on rootstock and planted at Aurora Vineyard as Abetina 2, maintaining for the long term this outstanding mix of clones. Abetina 2 is at the same elevation, aspect and on the same soil as the original.
2006 - The Pinot noir blocks at Avellana are the first planted fully to clonal massale, 5 of the Dijon clones are blended with the 22 heritage clones from Abetina. Planting continues at this site through 2014. This is the most extensive planting of Pinot noir clones in the United States.
Elevation: 340-600 feet
Acquired and planted in 2006, Avellana Vineyard's 25 acres sit on a hillside with panoramic views offering sight lines to all Ponzi properties in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The Pinot noir blocks are planted Clonal Massale,with over 25 different Heritage and Dijon clones planted at random, side-by-side. The Ponzi winery and tasting room were built on the same slope. Avellana is named for the filbert orchards originally farmed at this site.
Abetina 2 block at Aurora Vineyard
Elevation: 450 feet
One of the most notable plantings at Aurora Vineyard is an exact duplicate of Ponzi Abetina Vineyard planted in 2005. The collection is now preserved on rootstock on the same soil, elevation and aspect as the original block.
Elevation: 400-500 feet
Abetina is our vineyard gem - planted with over 20 pinot noir clones, making it truly unlike any other in Oregon. The site was planted as part of the original Oregon clonal test in 1975. Whether it is the soil, site, age or clonal diversity, Abetina consistently produces the most intensely flavored, elegantly nuanced grapes of all the vineyards. Abetina contributes the soupçon of dynamic, stylistic character to Ponzi Pinot noir reserve each vintage. It is selected for a single-vineyard designate bottling in only the finest vintages.