France's Bollinger family has appointed industry veteran Jean-Baptiste Rivail as CEO of Ponzi Vineyards, the Oregon-based winery the family acquired for an undisclosed sum last year. Rivail will also serve as executive vice president of the Bollingers' SJB USA, charged with further developing French wine brands Champagne Bollinger, Champagne Ayala, Domaine Chanson, and Langlois-Chateau in the U.S. market.
Rivail was most recently general manager of LVMH's Newton Vineyards in the Napa Valley. Etienne Bizot, chairman and CEO of the Bollinger family group, said Rivail's “knowledge of the U.S. market and his proven experience in running a successful winery will be a great asset to lead Ponzi Vineyards and to support the development of our other brands.” His appointment is effective today. New York-based importer and marketer Vintus handles the Bollinger family's wine brands in the U.S., including Ponzi, which has annual production of around 30,000 cases.
PORTLAND, OREGON, October 4, 2021 -- The Bollinger family is pleased to announce the appointment of Jean-Baptiste Rivail as CEO of Ponzi Vineyards and Executive Vice President of SJB USA. Owners of iconic Champagne Bollinger in addition to four other historic estates in France (Chanson Père & Fils in Burgundy, Langlois-Chateau in the Loire Valley, Ayala in Champagne and Delamain in Cognac), completed the acquisition of Ponzi Vineyards in May 2021. Mr. Rivail will officially assume his position on October 4, 2021.
“It is an honor that the Bollinger and Ponzi families have placed their confidence in me as we begin this new chapter for Ponzi Vineyards,” shares Rivail. “I feel both great responsibility and excitement in leading a winery with such an immense regional legacy as Ponzi has in Oregon and great excitement to join the family of brands represented by SJB. I look forward to working alongside Luisa Ponzi as well as the SJB family to accelerate Ponzi’s growth while maintaining the quality and style for which the winery is beloved.”
As the first non-family member to serve as CEO of Ponzi Vineyards, Rivail will work with head winemaker Luisa Ponzi to continue the estate’s legacy of quality, innovation, and sustainability. He will also continue work with the Ponzi family at large, who retain 100 acres of local vineyards upon which they will grow and sell grapes to Ponzi Vineyards under long-term contract.
“It Is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Jean-Baptiste to Ponzi Vineyards,” Luisa Ponzi explains. “I personally look forward to working with him to continue the legacy of great wines and leadership in the industry that my family helped establish over 50 years ago. Between the Bollinger ownership, Jean-Baptiste’s expertise and the continuation of winemaking, the winery is in very good hands.”
Rivail brings a rich resume in the world of fine wine, wine distribution and international management to his role at Ponzi Vineyards. He has deep family roots in the industry dating back to the 1800s, when his family started as wine merchants in France. After leading international sales for Champagne Vranken-Pommery, Mr. Rivail was hired by Moet-Hennessy and the LVMH group to steer international developments for Hennessy Cognac across the Americas. He most recently held the position of General Manager for the group’s iconic Newton Vineyards in Napa Valley.
In addition to his responsibilities at Ponzi Vineyards, Jean-Baptiste has also been appointed Executive Vice President SJB USA. In this role, Rivail will lead development of the group’s French wine brands in the U.S.: Champagne Bollinger, Champagne Ayala, Domaine Chanson, and Langlois-Chateau.
Etienne Bizot, Bollinger Family Group chairman and CEO shares: “We are thrilled to bring the talents of Jean-Baptiste Rivail to Ponzi Vineyards (our new acquisition in Oregon) and to the Bollinger group. His great knowledge of the U.S. market and his proven experience in running a successful winery will be a great asset to lead Ponzi Vineyards and to support the development of our other brands."
ABOUT PONZI VINEYARDS
The Ponzi family was instrumental in putting Oregon on the map as a premier wine growing region in the United States and across the world. In the late 1960s, Dick and Nancy Ponzi uprooted their young family to pursue a dream of producing world class Pinot Noir. Ponzi Vineyards was founded in 1970, and the first 4 barrels of wine were produced in 1974. At the time, there were 5 bonded wineries in Oregon with only 35 vineyard acres in production. The family legacy continued for over three decades through the leadership of sisters, Anna Maria and Luisa Ponzi, who successfully grew the operation through their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.
ABOUT THE BOLLINGER FAMILY
In addition to the iconic Champagne Bollinger, the Bollinger family owns the following leading historic French producers: Champagne Ayala, founded in 1860, and specialist in Chardonnay-dominant Champagnes; Domaine Chanson, founded in 1750, owner of 111 acres of Premier and Grand Cru vineyards in the heart of Burgundy; Langlois-Chateau, founded in 1885, a leading historical producer of Cremant and now also with important Sancerre holdings, all together totaling 175 acres in the best parts of the Loire Valley; and Cognac Delamain, founded in 1824, renowned for focusing entirely on the production of highest quality, aged Cognacs, only XO and above.
Keep Oregon Green® is collaborating with Union Wine Co. and six of Oregon’s top wineries to introduce a limited production Oregon Pinot Noir cuvee with 100% of sales going toward wildfire relief and prevention.
Since 1941, the non-profit Keep Oregon Green Association has promoted healthy landscapes and safe communities by educating the public of our shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfires in the state. Over 70% of Oregon’s wildfire ignitions are attributed to people’s daily activities. This collaborative wine project is an opportunity to increase awareness among wine lovers of the need to prevent the next wildfire while supporting a worthy cause.
80% of the proceeds of this wine will go to the Oregon Community Foundation’s Community Rebuilding Fund, helping Oregonians whose communities have been leveled by wildfires. The remaining 20% will go to Keep Oregon Green® to help them with their mission of preventing human-caused wildfires in Oregon through education and engagement.
“The 2020 wildfire season affected Oregon’s wine country, proving it’s not immune to a severe wildfire threat,” said Kristin Babbs, president of the Keep Oregon Green Association. “We are proud to introduce this 100% Oregon-grown pinot noir, where all ingredients and services were donated, and where 100% of the proceeds go toward relief, recovery, and wildfire prevention efforts.”
About the wine: The Oregon Pinot Noir is a blend of Oregon Pinot Noir grapes from Stoller Wine Group, Furioso Vineyards, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Ponzi Vineyards, A to Z Wineworks and Bjornson Vineyards, and packaged by Union Wine Company.
“At Stoller, we have a deep appreciation for our land and desire to support our community,” said Melissa Burr, vice president of winemaking for the Stoller Wine Group. “We were thrilled to participate and collaborate on this project.”
“2020 was a tough year for all of us here in Oregon, but it brought into light how amazing and supportive our wine community really is,” said Darin Dougherty, Marketing Director at Union Wine Company. “We can always find ways to learn, grow and be more aware of the impact we have on our ever-changing environment. We’re so excited to support Keep Oregon Green’s mission to drive awareness around human caused wildfires.”
Whether at home, on the job, or out having fun, Keep Oregon Green reminds Oregonians that it’s important to be able to predict the outcome of common outdoor activities that could possibly spark a wildfire. Babbs said that as the state’s population continues to grow, urban boundaries expand, and wildfires increase in frequency, intensity and cost, Keep Oregon Green’s message is more important than ever. “The power and responsibility of wildfire rests squarely in our hands.”
To learn more about important wildfire prevention safety tips and current fire conditions and restrictions, go to www.keeporegongreen.org.