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Ponzi Blog

Ponzi Vineyards
March 11, 2021 | Ponzi Vineyards

Behind the Vines: Single Vineyard Chardonnay

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.

Aurora Vineyard

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.

Avellana Vineyard

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.

Time Posted: Mar 11, 2021 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Behind the Vines: Single Vineyard Chardonnay Permalink Comments for Behind the Vines: Single Vineyard Chardonnay Comments (2)
February 14, 2019 |

Pretty, Pink & Easy to Love!

One of our favorite things about Pinot noir rosé is its versatility; not to mention its knack for brightening any occasion. With the first sip, a juicy kaleidoscope of flavors burst onto your palate. Mouthwatering acidity keeps the finish lively and crisp.

The fruit for the 2018 Ponzi Pinot Noir Rosé was intentionally selected with an eye towards cooler sites which retain juicy, vibrant acidity.

2018 Ponzi Pinot Noir Rosé
“Ethereal aromatics of magnolia, hibiscus, wild strawberry, jasmine and rainwater blend with slightly savory hints of lemon thyme and white pepper on the nose. The seamless palate of apple (think Envy or Pink Lady), slight honey notes and juicy acidity make this a refreshing, but serious Pinot noir rosé.” 
Winemaker Luisa Ponzi

Crafted from 100% Pinot noir, the fruit for our Rosé is intentionally selected with an eye towards cooler sites which retain juicy, vibrant acidity. Stainless steel fermentation to retain the bright, fresh fruit character.

Offered at $23/bottle  | $65/magnum
(15% off bottles, 20% off cases for members)


Time Posted: Feb 14, 2019 at 2:12 PM Permalink to Pretty, Pink & Easy to Love! Permalink
January 29, 2019 |

A Moment in the Spotlight: 2016 Ponzi Riesling

Riesling is perhaps one of the most well-known, and yet under appreciated wines. A beautifully crafted Riesling can be elegant and versatile.

Producing Oregon Riesling since 1974, Ponzi Vineyards presents a dry expression of the varietal that is delicate and balanced. It pairs effortlessly with a variety of dishes, from Asian cuisine to root vegetables to our favorite, Dungeness crab.

Served from an impressive magnum, Riesling finally gets the love and appreciation it deserves.

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 $55/magnum | $22/bottle
(15% off bottles, 20% off cases for members)

Time Posted: Jan 29, 2019 at 10:53 AM Permalink to A Moment in the Spotlight: 2016 Ponzi Riesling Permalink
December 22, 2018 |

Last Minute Gifting

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:








Time Posted: Dec 22, 2018 at 2:49 PM Permalink to Last Minute Gifting Permalink
December 12, 2018 |

Make Your Holiday Meal Memorable

Toast to the Season!

An unforgettable holiday meal begins and ends with something special in the glass. From the first libation to the last savored sip, this is the time of year to pull out all the stops.

When guests arrive, fill their glass with something festive and impressive, like the 2014 Ponzi Sparkling Brut Rosé. At the meal’s end, pour a splash of something fun and a bit decadent, like the 2016 Ponzi Vino Gelato. Memorable wines will let even the most basic dishes sing and make any gathering feel like a celebration. Now that’s something to toast to!

Shop our selection of specialty wines.

Tips for Flawless Wine Service

You’ve selected the perfect wine for your holiday meal. What you pour your wine into may come as an afterthought, but selecting the right stemware will enhance the wine and the occasion.

Read our wine service tips and recommendations.

Time Posted: Dec 12, 2018 at 1:57 PM Permalink to Make Your Holiday Meal Memorable Permalink
May 1, 2018 |

Celebrate The Laurelwood with the 2014 Sparkling Brut Rosé

The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards is officially open!

To celebrate this grand occasion, we are releasing our 2014 Ponzi Sparkling Brut Rosé. Made from a blend of 70% Pinot noir and 30% Chardonnay grown in a Goldilocks vintage – not too hot, not too cold, not too rainy. Everything was just right! The fruit comes from our highest elevation site at Merten Vineyards and our oldest vines at the original Ponzi Estate Vineyard.

"An  aromatic nose of strawberry cream, crushed hibiscus and magnolia mingle with  hints of fresh cranberry and pastry cream. The broad mouth of dried apricot and quince is balanced by juicy acidity and a hint of Frangelico."
– Winemaker Luisa Ponzi

Ponzi Vineyards’ first sparkling wine production was in 1996 to celebrate the birth of the first Ponzi Grandchild. From that experience, and realization of the skill and labor that goes into sparkling wine, it was not repeated until 2008. That particular year was the first vintage at our new winery and a real cause for celebration. It made perfect sense to release the 2014 vintage to celebrate The Laurelwood, our stunning new hospitality space where modern elegance meets rustic roots set against stunning vineyard and valley view.

The 2014 Ponzi Sparkling Brut Rosé is available online and in our Tasting Room, located just outside Portland. We are open daily 11-5:30 pm. Stop in to visit and pick up a bottle of this special wine. Cheers to The Laurelwood!

To learn more about the process of making sparkling wine, check out our post on the bottling of the 2014 Ponzi Sparkling Brut Rosé.


Time Posted: May 1, 2018 at 2:05 PM Permalink to Celebrate The Laurelwood with the 2014 Sparkling Brut Rosé Permalink
April 26, 2018 |

Italy's Little Rascal and Little Sweet One--Ponzi Arneis and Dolcetto

Piedmont, Italy

Piedmont is in Italy's northwest and borders Switzerland and France. True to the meaning of its name (foot of the mountain), Piedmont is a land of mountains. It is surrounded on three sides by the Alps, with the highest peaks and largest glaciers in Italy. Yet, the Mediterranean Ocean is less than 15 miles away. The temperature variation between the cold mountains and the warm ocean causes the region to fill with fog in the morning, slowly burning off over the course of the day. Because of this, land at higher altitudes on the hills receive more sunlight, making those the best sites for growing grapes.

Considered one of the world’s great winemaking regions, Piedmont is sometimes called the Burgundy of Italy. The region is most famous for its red wines, particularly Barolo, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto. However, it also is a strong producer of whites, most notably Moscato d’Asti, and it is the native home of the very rare Arneis.

The Ponzi Family Brings Piedmont to Oregon

During one of many trips to visit the Currado family of the historic 143-year-old  Vietti Winery, the Ponzi Family was delighted by the flavors and balance of the Arneis, a white wine whose name means “Little Rascal”, and by the dry spicy flavors of Dolcetto, a red whose name means “Little Sweet One.” They surmised that the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon would provide the ideal growing conditions for these Italian varietals, as both areas sit right on the 45th parallel north latitudinally and experience similar weather conditions due to comparable distances from mountains and oceans. They planted five acres of Arneis and two acres of Dolcetto in the early 1990s, becoming one of only a handful of American producers of these unusual wines, a status that remains today.

Little Sweet One

Dolcetto is neither little nor sweet. In fact, it’s quite dry. The name refers to this wine’s naturally low acidity. Dolcetto grapes ripen early, producing bold wines with deep color. It is also sometimes called Nera Dolce and Ormeasco. In its native Piedmont, Dolcetto often takes a backseat to the more popular Barbera and Nebbiolo grapes, but Dolcetto is relatively hardy and will ripen on lesser vineyard sites where those other grapes would struggle. It happily ripens just about anywhere, and when planted in quality sites the character of this wine really shines. If you’ve tried Dolcetto and been underwhelmed by it, it may be you’ve sampled one from a less-than-ideal vineyard.

Upon discovering Dolcetto, the Ponzi Family planted two acres of it in 1992 in the Aurora vineyard, located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The Aurora vineyard has a consistent history of producing beautiful fruit and is a great site for this varietal. In such a vineyard, and under the care of master Winemaker Luisa Ponzi, the Ponzi Dolcetto is a delightful, flavorful wine.

  • Nose: Amarena cherries, spiced plum, cassis, lilac
  • Flavors: Bold dark cherry, coffee, raspberry, brioche
  • Mouth: Light acidity, long finish, lingering tannins
  • Alcohol: 13.8%
  • Process: The grapes are hand picked, sorted and destemmed. The wine is pressed before dryness and moved to neutral French oak, then aged for 18 months before bottling.

Dolcetto is considered a light, easy-drinking red wine. It pairs well with pasta, pizza and strong-flavored cold cuts like salami.

Buy Now

Ponzi Vineyards makes very limited quantities of Dolcetto every year. It is only available online and in our Tasting Room.

Little Rascal

Arneis earned the moniker “Little Rascal” due to its reputation for being rather difficult to grow. When you master it, as Winemaker Luisa Ponzi has, it produces a delightful dry wine. This rare varietal was once on the verge of extinction in its native Piedmont, with only two producers growing it in the 1970s, one of which was the Vietti Winery visited by the Ponzi Family. Plantings have since increased in Piedmont and in New World wine regions, but it remains lesser known. Ponzi Vineyards planted five acres of it in 1991 in the Aurora vineyard and remain one of the few producers growing it in the United States.

  • Nose: Perfumed, with persimmon, quince, apricot, lemongrass, powdered sugar
  • Flavors: Light honey, toasted almond, key lime
  • Mouth: Bright, lithe
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Process: Grapes are whole-cluster pressed and the juice settles for 24 hours. It is then moved to stainless steel and fermented at very low temperatures. It is lightly filtered before bottling.

Arneis pairs beautifully with seafood, white meats (like turkey or chicken) and creamy cheeses.

Buy Now

Ponzi Vineyards makes very limited quantities of Arneis every year. It is only available online and in our Tasting Room.


Time Posted: Apr 26, 2018 at 4:06 PM Permalink to Italy's Little Rascal and Little Sweet One--Ponzi Arneis and Dolcetto Permalink
February 12, 2018 |

The 2015 Ponzi Avellana Chardonnay Wins 95 Points

2015 Ponzi Avellana Chardonnay

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.

Time Posted: Feb 12, 2018 at 2:12 PM Permalink to The 2015 Ponzi Avellana Chardonnay Wins 95 Points Permalink
January 23, 2018 |

Bottling the 2017 Ponzi Sparkling Rosé

bottled sparkling wine at Ponzi VineyardsThe sparkling 2017 wines have been bottled and tucked away for a long rest in the cellar. The process is just shy of magical, beginning with Andrew Davis of Radiant Sparkling Wine Company pulling up to our gravity-flow winery in Sherwood, Oregon, with his bottling trailer. The rosé has already completed its first fermentation and inside Davis’ trailer is everything needed to get it started on its second fermentation.

clean bottles at Ponzi VineyardsClean bottles are loaded onto a belt on one end of the trailer. They are then filled with the rosé and the Liqueur de Tirage, a combination of yeast and sugar that kick starts the second fermentation. During this second fermentation, the alcohol level will increase slightly and the bubbles we all love so much will develop. The bottles are tightly capped and emerge at the other end of the trailer, where they are removed and stacked neatly in large crates. They’ll ferment inside these crates for the next 4-5 years.

Fun fact: Davis’ bottling trailer pushes out about 4 bottles every 20 seconds. That's a lot of wine!

What’s next for these bottles?

The yeast will eventually consume all the sugar and die. It settles like sediment in the bottle. Such expended yeast is referred to as the lees. The lees impart a pleasing texture and can contribute to flavor, however they don’t look particularly nice in the bottle, clouding the beautiful color of the wine.

bottling trailer at Ponzi VineyardsThe next stage, riddling, gets the yeast out of the liquid and clarifies the wine. The bottles are slowly rotated during the riddling stage so that the lees settle in the neck. Once all the particulates are settled, the neck is submerged in a freezing liquid and the lees freeze into a solid piece. The cap is removed and the pressure inside the bottle causes the frozen lees to push out of the bottle (or be pulled out).  

The last step, dosage, adds a mixture of wine and sugar to fill out the bottles. They are then corked, wired, labelled, and are ready to go.

Our pretty pink babies are just settling in for their long nap in the cellar, where they’ll be carefully monitored by Luisa Ponzi and the winery crew. They have a long way to go—sparkling wines require more direct handling than still wines—but when it’s time to pop the cork and raise a glass, the result is definitely worth it.

If you just can't wait to get your hands on some rosé, the 2017 Ponzi Rosé will be releasing in early February 2018, and the 2014 Sparkling Brut Rosé will be released in April 2018 to celebrate the opening of The Founder's Room, our new hospitality space. Follow us on Facebook so you don't miss these exciting new wines!

Time Posted: Jan 23, 2018 at 10:20 AM Permalink to Bottling the 2017 Ponzi Sparkling Rosé Permalink
January 8, 2018 |

Introducing the 2016 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir

2016 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir

Spring 2016 was warm in Oregon and the flowers came early. Summer rolled smoothly across the Chehalem Mountains of the Northern Willamette Valley, with beautiful, moderate temperatures all season long. These pleasant days stretched into a mellow, easy autumn. The result: an early harvest of perfect fruit bursting with intense flavor.

We are delighted to present the 2016 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir. Masterfully crafted by winemaker Luisa Ponzi, the unique, high-quality grapes of the 2016 season produced a complex, well-balance wine. Fruit, acidity, and tannin are present in fine equilibrium. Small berry size resulted in rich aromatics and concentrated flavors. Enjoy this lush, sophisticated Pinot noir today, or put bottles away to age gracefully—we expect greatness from this vintage.

This presumptuous nose of brambly blackberry notes, cinnamon stick, graham cracker and lavender is as intriguing as the palate which gives salted caramel, black tea and strawberry balsamic notes. The generous fruit provides a silky middle and soft finish with lingering spicy tannins. –Winemaker Luisa Ponzi

Tavola is Italian for “table” and we encourage you to enjoy the 2016 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir with friends and family. Perfect for gatherings both cozy and large, this wine is a key component in any hospitality toolkit. Serve in Riedel glassware created specifically for Oregon Pinot noirs to add that special touch. We are so pleased to offer this exceptional Pinot noir to you at an affordable price. Cheers!

2016 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir2016 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir

Alcohol: 13.8%
Bouquet: blackberry, cinnamon, graham cracker, lavender
Flavors: salted caramel, black tea, strawberry balsamic
Pair with: poached salmon, braised duck, grilled vegetables, goat cheese, chocolate cake, fruit

Purchase Your Bottle Here

Ponzi Vineyards has been creating world-class wines for nearly 50 years. Located just 15 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon, Ponzi Vineyards is a second-generation winery run by sisters Luisa and Maria Ponzi.

Tips for Flawless Wine Service
First Pinot Noir Pressing of the 2017 Season
Oregon’s Willamette Valley: Home of Great Pinot Noir at Any Price

Time Posted: Jan 8, 2018 at 1:27 PM Permalink to Introducing the 2016 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir Permalink