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.
Since its founding in 1970, Ponzi Vineyards has proudly championed local organizations that offer vital support to our community. With the opening of the new tasting room in Sherwood in 2013, the Ponzi family launched the Charity of the Month program. The program benefits a different local charity each month with the donation of a portion of all tasting fees.
In 2018, the following organizations received support thanks to patrons like you.
Family of Friends
David Sheldrick Foundation
Hope for Autism
¡Salud! (Auction host and member of the Vintners Circle)
We are grateful to you and wish you a peaceful New Year.
Let them Shop!
Surprise the wine lover in your life with a Ponzi gift card. Use the little blue card online or in the tasting room toward wine, tastings or tours. Purchase a $50 or $100 gift card and we will gift wrap it in a beautiful champagne gift box.
Available in denominations of $100, $50 & $25.
How to Set a Formal Table
Formalities and etiquette can often go by the wayside, but taking a little extra time to slow down and make things extra special can be fun, especially during this festive time of year. Why not start with your holiday table setting?
Watch our 2 minute How-To video:
The 2018 vintage is coming off the vines and making its way into the winery. The first fruit in the door is beautiful Chardonnay from Ponzi grower Gemini Vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains.
Winemaker Luisa Ponzi and her team processed the fruit this morning, pressing the whole clusters, before sending it to barrel to ferment.
Follow along over social media and the blog as the 2018 harvest continues.
We've just completed bottling the 2017 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir! Watch the video to see how it's done. A big "thank you" to Dundee Mobile Bottlers!
It won't be ready for release for a little while, so get the 2016 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir while you can! Tavola means "table" in Italian, and this versatile Pinot noir pairs perfectly with food! You can view the tasting notes here.
Co-founded by Nancy Ponzi of Ponzi Vineyards in 1985, the International Pinot Noir Celebration now draws nearly 1000 people from all over the world to McMinnville, Oregon, for a weekend of wine tasting, education and dining from the bounty of the Northwest. Attendees include Pinot noir producers and devotees, journalists, Northwest chefs and food lovers. This year's IPNC did not disappoint! Once again, Ponzi Vineyards participated in seminars, sharing the expertise we've cultivated over nearly 50 years as one of Oregon's founding wineries. Our wines were shown at multiple pourings to demonstrate the high-quality the Willamette Valley consistently produces. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi presented alongside Burgundy's finest vintners.
The event was such a success, and it was our great honor to participate. Until next year!
Happy Earth Day! We are delighted that this annual event supporting environmental protection coincides with our announcement of bud break at Ponzi Vineyards.
On 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
We are proud to announce the 2015 Ponzi Avellana Chardonnay has been awarded 95 points by The Tasting Panel. This single-vineyard vintage expresses the very best qualities of Ponzi Vineyards' Avellana vineyard, nurtured to perfection under Winemaker Luisa Ponzi's skill and experience. After more than two decades of dedicated study—including time spent with Chardonnay master Dominique Lafon of Domaine des Comtes Lafon in Burgundy—Luisa has obtained an understanding of Chardonnay that enables Ponzi Vineyards to be one of the few producers creating a style that is uniquely Oregon.
Ponzi Vineyards is proud to be leading the way in setting a high standard for Oregon Chardonnay under Luisa's direction.
Ponzi Vineyards will be a presence at this year's Oregon Chardonnay Celebration on February 25th. Please come by to show your support!
The 2015 Ponzi Avellana Chardonnay will be available for purchase very soon. In the meantime, pick up a bottle of the 2014 Ponzi Avellana Chardonnay before it's gone.
The ¡Salud! Pinot Noir Auction is an incredible event, pairing world class, one of a kind Pinot noirs with winemakers and buyers to support healthcare for vineyard workers. Here's a quick recap of this year's luncheon at Ponzi Vineyards. Please join us next year!
Second generation Ponzi Winemaker, Luisa Ponzi, sipped one of a kind Willamette Valley Pinot noirs while catching up with some old friends and members of a small number of second generation Oregon winemakers: Elk Cove's Adam Campbell and Sokol Blosser's Alex Sokol Blosser.
Winery President Maria Ponzi greeted guests and made sure the event was comfortable and fun.
Ponzi Associate Winemaker JP Pierce poured 2017 Ponzi ¡Salud! Cuvee in the winery.
With harvest finished for this year, Ponzi Associate Enologist, Annette, and harvest 2017 intern, Meille, enjoyed a well-deserved evening of luxury, hobnobbing with winemakers and choosing their favorite Pinot noirs.
Join us next year for the ¡Salud! Charity Pinot Noir Auction. Taste one of a kind cuvees, bid and support healthcare for vineyard workers.
When second generation Winemaker Luisa Ponzi returned to the family winery after her studies in Beaune, France, she brought with her a passion for White Burgundy. When it comes to Oregon Chardonnay, the Willamette Valley offers the ideal climate for this noble varietal to thrive. Ponzi Chardonnays are known for being balanced, boasting beautiful fruit notes and a light touch of oak, making them truly versatile food wines.
Chardonnay's structured yet supple nature, acid and combination of fruit and minerality, can help to bring out flavors in a variety of dishes. Where a bold red may overshadow the sweet and savory subtleties of turkey and stuffing, a finely-balanced Chardonnay will complement and even enhance these dishes. Give it a try!
Our recommendations for effortless fall food pairing:
2014 PONZI AURORA CHARDONNAY - Highly rated from Wine & Spirits Magazine, this Chardonnay was named a Year's Best Chardonnay with a score of 94.
"Lemon balm, straw and white pepper frame this elegant nose, the palate holds true with dried quince, baked apple interlaced with balanced acidity and a touch of minerality."
– Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
2014 PONZI AVELLANA CHARDONNAY - This single vineyard wine scored a 92 from Wine Enthusiast.
"The silky palate of ripe apricot and gooseberry leads to perfect length on the palate framed by fresh acidity."
– Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
2014 PONZI CHARDONNAY RESERVE - This Chardonnay also earned kudos from Wine Enthusiast, scoring 93 points.
"An effusive nose of orange zest, jasmine, figs, flan, quince and maple. A silky textured mouth is laced with white chocolate, flan and a vein of acidity that radiates through the finish."
– Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
2015 PONZI CHARDONNAY - While this Chardonnay is unoaked, it makes for a stunning complement to richer, buttery dishes. Earning an a score of 91 points and Editor's Choice from Wine Enthusiast, this wine is "beautifully balanced," combining a "thread of citrus with a mineral flint note that finishes with bright acidity and a touch of sweetness."
– Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
While you're falling in love with Ponzi Chardonnay, don't forget to order some Pinot noir too!