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!