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Ponzi Vineyards

Ponzi Blog

Ponzi Vineyards
 
February 13, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

Chardonnay for the New American Palate

Chardonnay fruit at Ponzi VineyardsChardonnay is the most planted grape variety in the world, and it has a wide range of flavors. Many associate Chardonnay with heavy oak and butter flavors, but that’s just one style. Truly, there’s a Chardonnay out there for everyone. At Ponzi Vineyards, a style of Chardonnay is crafted that is both accessible to novice wine drinkers and offers a freshness sought after by aficionados that may be tired of the oak- and butter-bombs stereotypical of Chardonnay.

Ponzi Vineyards Chardonnay: Style and History

After more than two decades of dedicated study—including time spent with Chardonnay master Dominique Lafon of Domaine des Comtes Lafon in Burgundy—Winemaker Luisa Ponzi has achieved an insider’s understanding of Chardonnay that is demonstrated in Ponzi Vineyards’ continued leadership in defining a new Oregon style. It’s a style that is bright and acidic, with texture and fresh fruit flavors mid-palate. Every vintage is designed to allow expressions of these characteristics. This new take on Chardonnay is enabling Oregon—and Ponzi Vineyards—to set a new standard for the varietal in America and beyond.

Luisa Ponzi examining the harvestOne of the first in Oregon Pinot noir, Ponzi Vineyards was also one of the first to plant and produce Chardonnay in the early 1970s. The original vines were clones that thrived in California but ripened late in Oregon’s cooler climate. Eventually, a Dijon clone was discovered that suited the climate of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, which has long periods of daylight but cool evening temperatures in the summertime. This discovery changed Oregon Chardonnay forever.

Ponzi Vineyards planted several blocks of this Dijon clone in their Aurora Vineyard and the resulting wines were flavorful, rich, and complex. The vines are now nearly 30-years old, the roots reaching deep into the Laurelwood soil, and the flavors have grown more intense.

With the Aurora Chardonnay thriving, Luisa began experimenting with clones and rootstocks. She found a winning combination and established another block of Chardonnay vines at Ponzi Vineyards’ Avellana Vineyard.

harvesting Chardonnay at Ponzi VineyardsVintages from both vineyards regularly score very high, revealing the need for this distinct style of cool-climate Chardonnay.

Luisa Ponzi was a panelist at the Oregon Chardonnay Celebration in 2017, and Ponzi Vineyards will be a presence there again this year.

For a region known for its Pinot noir, Oregon is most certainly making waves with its distinct Chardonnay style, designed for a new American palate.

Ponzi Vineyards Chardonnay Accolades
 
Chardonnay
  • 2015 vintage: Wine Enthusiast’s Editor’s Choice
Chardonnay Reserve
  • 2013 vintage: Wine Enthusiast’s Editor’s Choice
  • 2014 vintage: Wine Enthusiast’s Editor’s Choice > "This stellar reserve remains one of the finest Chardonnays from Oregon." – Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast
Aurora Chardonnay
  • 2012 vintage: 96 points, Wine Enthusiast
  • 2012 vintage: Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines for 2015
  • 2013 vintage: 95 points, Wine Enthusiast
Avellana Chardonnay
  • 2013 vintage: 95 points, Wine Enthusiast
  • 2013 vintage: Wine Enthusiast’s Editor’s Choice
  • 2015 vintage: 95 points, The Tasting Panel
 
“There’s a renaissance happening in Oregon Chardonnay from the state’s Willamette Valley”
– Food & Wine
 
 
Experience More

Appreciate Oregon Chardonnay for yourself with a Ponzi Vineyards vintage.
Read about the 2015 Ponzi Avellana Chardonnay's award of 95 points from The Tasting Panel.
Check out images from the Chardonnay harvest from the Aurora Vineyard.

sunrise at Ponzi Vineyards

Time Posted: Feb 13, 2018 at 12:07 PM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
January 11, 2018 | Ponzi Vineyards

Ponzi Vineyards 2017 Harvest

Ponzi Vineyards 2017 HarvestIt is a rainy, blustery day at the vineyard today, which makes us nostalgic for the golden days of last year's harvest.

Many will remember 2017 as a rollercoaster year: devastating wildfires, hurricanes, an incredible solar eclipse. Ponzi Vineyards was spared from the smoke caused by fires in the Columbia River Gorge and when harvest approached, luck continued to be on our side with plentiful winds protecting the grapes on over-warm days. And then it was Harvest Day, and "beautiful" was the word spoken most often by Luisa, our winemaker. And the fruit! So much fruit! The crop was abundant.

With big wistful sighs, we present our video of these happy-busy days. Enjoy!

Time Posted: Jan 11, 2018 at 3:53 PM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
November 8, 2017 | Ponzi Vineyards

#pzharvest2017 Update - The Wines Show Promise!

"The weather predictions were not great this year," laughs Ponzi Winemaker Luisa Ponzi. "We were looking at a really beautiful October of clear skies and nice cool temperatures, and it ended up being mostly that, but also there was some pretty intense rain." Watch the video to learn more about the 2017 harvest season at Ponzi Vineyards.

Time Posted: Nov 8, 2017 at 1:00 PM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
October 24, 2017 | Ponzi Vineyards

#pzharvest2017 Update - Picking is Finished!

Chardonnay grapes glow in sunrise light

Just before sunrise on September 14, 2017, at Aurora Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains, the Ponzi harvest team was already hard at work picking the first Chardonnay grapes for sparkling wine. #pzharvest2017 was off to a sunny, warm and dry start.

Chardonnay grapes on the vine in Oregon's Willamette Valley

Yellow grape vines on a hillside

Rains and cooler temperatures soon descended on the Pacific Northwest's Willamette Valley, dropping about an inch of precipitation and delaying Ponzi's harvest. 

Pinot gris on the vine in Oregon's Willamette Valley

But warmer, dryer mornings returned and the team worked quickly to get all the fruit into the winery before the unpredictable Oregon autumn brought more  inclement weather. From Chardonnay to Pinot gris and Pinot noir, we've gently picked ripe clusters of juicy, flavorful grapes. 

Pinot noir grapes in a bin in the vineyard

Sunrise in the vineyard at the Chehalem Mountains in Oregon's Willamette Valley

Sunrise on the last day of harvest burned off a thick layer of eerie fog. Frost covered the ground, but pickers harvested the last grapes on Ponzi's vineyards. Now that the fruit is in, the winery is busy destemming grapes, punching down lees, pressing and barreling the 2017 vintage. Stay tuned for more updates!

Time Posted: Oct 24, 2017 at 9:36 AM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
October 18, 2017 | Ponzi Vineyards

Harvest Update - Lab Testing Helps Make Great Wine

As #pzharvest2017 roles along, we want to introduce you to some of the people who help us make Ponzi's world class wines. Ponzi Vineyards Winery has a tough team of passionate wine lovers, but as Assistant Enologist Annett Goetz explains, brute force won't always wine the day. Watch this video to learn about the role of the lab in winemaking.

Time Posted: Oct 18, 2017 at 2:36 PM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
October 16, 2017 | Ponzi Vineyards

Ponzi Harvest Dinner 2017

A woman pours white wine into a Burgundy glassPonzi's Harvest Dinner 2017 was a magical evening featuring cozy atmosphere, chatting with two generations of the Ponzi family, a delicious meal and a preview of the 2015 single vineyard Pinot noirs and Chardonnays. Both second generation Ponzi sisters spoke, Luisa presented the new wines and Maria remembered the 2002 vintage.

Winemaker Luisa Ponzi addresses a comfortably elegant crowd at the 2017 Harvest Dinner

The evening could not have more perfectly represented indian summer in the Willamette Valley. The clear skies faded into a spectacular sunset!

Sunset from Ponzi Vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains in Willamette Valley, OR

The dinner itself was an amazing five-course dinner by Winery Culinary Director, Thomas Ghinazzi, with each course perfectly paired with the unreleased 2015 Single Vintage Pinot noir and Chardonnay, plus a surprise library wine: the 2002 Abetina Pinot Noir.

Mia Ponzi pours mushroom soup for a harvest dinner guest

Ponzi single vineyard pinot noir bottles on an elegant table

To finish the meal, Chef Tom served a dessert of cheese blintz paired with limited release 2016 Ponzi Vino Gelato.

Ponzi Vino Gelato paired with cheese blintz, desert

Please join us next year to celebrate the harvest. Mark your calendars!

Time Posted: Oct 16, 2017 at 1:58 PM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
October 13, 2017 | Ponzi Vineyards

First Pinot noir pressing of the 2017 season

The Ponzi Vineyards winery team is pressing our first Pinot noir grapes of #pzharvest2017, this pretty red press was originally made in Germany in 1978 and purchased by Dick Ponzi in 1992 when he bought his house at Aurora Vineyard.

The Willmes press had been abandoned by John Scharffenberger, of Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker. It seems repairing wine presses was a favorite hobby of the winemaker and chocolatier. 

 For Winemaker Luisa Ponzi, the press didn't at first meet her standards. So it sat, unused, until 2007, when the winery ran out of room from a particularly large harvest. Luisa dusted off the old press and had to admit she was wrong. It works great!

Time Posted: Oct 13, 2017 at 11:17 AM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
October 6, 2017 | Ponzi Vineyards

#PZHarvest2017 Update - Punch Downs are Team Effort

 

This week the pace of harvest accelerated, with fruit coming in from a lot of vineyards. The winery staff and harvest interns have been hard at work to keep up with all the fresh grapes coming in. Ponzi's other departments volunteered to help punch down tanks. Sometimes harvest is a team effort!

A man stands on a tank with a tool to punch down grape skins

Punching down the tanks makes sure the juice gets plenty of skin contact and flavor. Here's the view from above a punch down:

 

More harvest updates to come on the blog. But if you can't wait, stay abreast of all the action in real time by following #pzharvest2017 on Instagram and Twitter.

Time Posted: Oct 6, 2017 at 11:04 AM
Ponzi Vineyards
 
October 3, 2017 | Ponzi Vineyards

2017 Harvest Kickoff

Harvest has come to Oregon's Chehalem Mountains.This season featured a cool spring, a dry hot summer, and this week, intermittent rains. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi explains the vintage and why the grapes are looking great.

Time Posted: Oct 3, 2017 at 2:34 PM