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Ponzi Blog

October 31, 2018 |

Charity of the Month - November: Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative

Ponzi Vineyards Charity of the Month

Throughout the Month of November, a portion of tasting fees from the Ponzi Vineyards tasting room will be donated to the Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative, an organization that supports the delivery of high-quality parenting education programs and systems throughout the region.

OPEC works towards a vision of all Oregon parents having access to high quality, proven parenting education programs that support them in their roles as their children’s first and most important teachers. They hope that all Oregon communities will be served by a network of strong parenting programs and a regional parenting educational hub, and that Oregon will be a national leader in professionalizing and normalizing parenting education.

“Parent involvement in a child’s education is the most important factor in their academic success,” notes Ponzi Vineyards Accountant Jeffrey Huffman. “We love our teachers, every one a dedicated professional, but without strong parental support, they’re at a disadvantage educating our kids.” 

Thanks to generous funding, OPEC provides research-based resources including monthly newsletters and blog posts to help parents on their parenting journey. In addition, OPEC sends trained Parenting Educators into our communities to share training and build a network for support and resources to promote quality education.

The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative is a program of the Oregon Community Foundation. The mission of The Oregon Community Foundation is to improve lives for all Oregonians through the power of philanthropy. They work with individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create charitable funds—more than 2,800 of them—that support the community causes donors care about. These funds support the critical work that nonprofits are doing across Oregon. Through these funds, OCF awarded more than $118 million in grants and scholarships in 2017.

We invite you to visit Ponzi Vineyards this month and join us in support of this valuable organization. A portion of every tasting fee will be donated to the Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative through the end of November.

Time Posted: Oct 31, 2018 at 2:48 PM Permalink to Charity of the Month - November: Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative Permalink
October 30, 2018 |

Harvest 2018: It's a Wrap!

Ponzi Vineyards Harvest 2018

The end of harvest has arrived!

We brought in 700 tons of beautiful fruit and are excited about the wine we'll be creating from this vintage. None of it would be possible without our skilled vineyard crew (led by Vineyard Manager Miguel Ortiz), our exemplary Production staff (led by Winemaker Luisa Ponzi), and our amazing harvest interns, who join us from around the world to learn and grow with us.

Their hard work, sense of humor and passion for this industry has made this season unforgettable. We thank you.


Time Posted: Oct 30, 2018 at 12:36 PM Permalink to Harvest 2018: It's a Wrap! Permalink
October 3, 2018 |

Charity of the Month--October: Breast Friends

Ponzi Vineyards charity of the month Breast Friends

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month, throughout October a portion of tasting fees from the Ponzi Vineyards Tasting Room will be donated to Breast Friends, an organization that works to ensure that no woman faces cancer alone.

Breast Friends is a unique resource for women, their family, friends, co-workers and the community. Their mission is to minimize the fear and isolation of a cancer diagnosis and improve the quality of life for those affected by it. For over a decade, their programs have empowered thousands by providing emotional support and hope. They instruct friends and family in specific ways to support their sick loved ones and they provide resources for the entire family. Breast Friends volunteers are cancer survivors themselves, offering individual assistance through one-on-one contact via phone or in person. They also provide customized support groups.

Breast Friends was chosen as our October charity by President Anna Maria Ponzi. “Breast cancer impacts so many women,” she said, “including members of the Ponzi Vineyards team, their friends and families. The great work this charity does to support female cancer patients is near and dear to Ponzi Vineyards.”

We invite you to visit Ponzi Vineyards this month and join us in support of this valuable organization. A portion of every tasting fee will be donated to Breast Friends through the end of October.

Time Posted: Oct 3, 2018 at 2:30 PM Permalink to Charity of the Month--October: Breast Friends Permalink
October 1, 2018 |

Harvesting Pinot Gris at Aurora Vineyard

Pinot gris grapes at Aurora vineyards

Last week we harvested Pinot gris at our stunning Aurora vineyard. Vineyard Manager Miguel Ortiz (pictured to the right) says the sweeping views of Mt. Hood and the Chehalem Mountains make Aurora one of his favorite vineyards.

Vineyard Manager Miguel Ortiz

This 80-acre vineyard has it all: old vines, lots of sunlight and Laurelwood soil on a Southeast-facing slope in the Chehalem Mountains AVA in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. At 300-600 feet of elevation, this vineyard builds on experiments done at other Ponzi sites. It features numerous comparative plantings, rootstock studies, clones and spacing variations. One of the most notable plantings is an exact duplicate of the Ponzi Abetina vineyard, planted in 2005, called Abetina 2. Those plantings comprise a collection now preserved on rootstock on the same soil, elevation and aspect as the original block. Aurora is also a LIVE-certified site.

Read more about Aurora here.

Pinot gris harvest at Ponzi Vineyards

Pinot gris harvest at Ponzi Vineyards


Pinot gris harvest at Ponzi Vineyards


Pinot gris harvest at Ponzi Vineyards


Pinot gris harvest at Ponzi Vineyards


Pinot gris harvest at Ponzi Vineyards

Time Posted: Oct 1, 2018 at 12:57 PM Permalink to Harvesting Pinot Gris at Aurora Vineyard Permalink
August 17, 2018 |

Veraison at Ponzi Vineyards

veraison at Ponzi Vineyards

We have veraison at Ponzi Vineyards!

Veraison (“verr-ray-zohn”) is technically defined as the change of color of grape berries. However, it also represents the transitional period from berry growth to berry ripening and the changes occuring during that time.

One of the most important moments in a grapevine’s annual lifecycle, veraison signals the onset of ripening, when the grapes turn from green to red and begin to sweeten. The process also occurs in white grapes in a less visually dramatic way, with grapes turning from green to golden and becoming more translucent.

veraison at Ponzi Vineyards

During veraison, the vine alters its focus from creating energy through photosynthesis to consuming energy in order to make sweet grapes. The vine transports its energy stores from the roots into the grapes. The chlorophyll in the grapes is replaced by anthocyanins (in red grapes) or carotenoids (in white grapes), as well as sugars and other nutrients. As these sugars accumulate and aroma compounds develop, the grapes begin to increase in size. Acid levels also begin to fall during this time.

Once veraison begins, the ripening process continues for another 30-70 days until the grapes are fully ready. The time required for ripening varies by grape type. For example, Pinot gris typically ripens much earlier than Pinot noir.

veraison at Ponzi Vineyards

Some grape varieties have bunches that ripen unevenly; some berries on the cluster will be completely ripe while others are still green. Extreme uneven ripening is called millerandage and can lead to wines that smell sweet but taste unbalanced and “green”. It happens commonly in Pinot noir, which is why it takes skill and experience to craft wine from this grape. Luckily for Ponzi Vineyards, Winemaker Luisa Ponzi knows exactly what she’s doing and consistently produces exemplary Pinot noir year after year.

You can view veraison for yourself: our tasting room is surrounded by our Avellana vineyard. Avellana has been planted Clonal Massale™, an innovative planting technique pioneered by Luisa Ponzi in which more than 20 clones have been planted randomly throughout the vineyard blocks like wildflowers. They ripen at different times, but are harvested all at once. The diversity of clones creates balance and depth in the finished wines and creates a consistency from year to year that adjusts for vintage variability and shifts the focus to the unique terroir of the site. Veraison is the perfect time to view the diversity of the clones at Avellana, and you can do so from the comfort of our tasting room’s terrace with a glass of Pinot in hand.

Read along as we follow the vineyard throughout the year in The Vineyard Series:

Time Posted: Aug 17, 2018 at 3:38 PM Permalink to Veraison at Ponzi Vineyards Permalink
August 10, 2018 |

Classico Vineyards Series: Bieze

Bieze vineyards is one of the vineyards featured in the 2015 Ponzi Classico Pinot noir

In the Willamette Valley, there’s a perfect spot for Pinot noir around every corner. Ponzi Vineyards is lucky to farm some of the best at our Avellana, Aurora and Madrona vineyards. These sites are the foundation of our signature wine, the Classico Pinot Noir. To complete the blend and truly highlight what this region can produce, we work with area growers to source the finest fruit from exceptional vineyards. When sourcing from these growers and from our own vineyards, second-generation Winemaker Luisa Ponzi looks for fruit that contributes the desired aromatics, structure or fruit intensity to complement her vision for the vintage. For our 2015 Classico blend, she selected our Bieze Vineyard for its aromatics.

Bieze vineyard is one of the featured vineyards in the 2015 Ponzi Classico Pinot Noir

The Bieze Family has owned their property outside of Salem, Oregon, for 35 years. Previously, it was planted with fir trees, a prune orchard, and a few walnut and holly trees. In 2008, the sloping hillsides were planted with a visually striking vineyard.

The soil foundation of the vineyard is formed by Ritner and Nekia soils. Volcanic formations laid down these soils, which vary somewhat in their composition. Nekia soil is a silty clay loam and is found on Bieze’s more steeply sloped areas. Ritner soil is a gravelly silty clay loam and is present on the more gently sloped areas. Both soil types are naturally well-drained, yet shallow, and the minerality of the site is well expressed in the fruit and wines produced there.

Bieze vineyard is one of the featured vineyards in the 2015 Ponzi Classico Pinot Noir

Located in the southern end of the Willamette Valley, Bieze benefits from cool breezes that flow across the site from the Van Duzer Corridor to the west. The sunny days with cool evening breezes create perfect conditions for developing fruit with full flavors and intriguing aromatics of chili pepper, chocolate and spice that make it an exceptional addition to the Ponzi Classico Pinot Noir blend.

Explore Luisa Ponzi’s 2015 Classico Pinot Noir and the eleven exceptional Vineyards she selected as Willamette Valley’s truest expression of that memorable year.

Get a bottle of Classico Pinot Noir for yourself. The dusty tannins, hints of roasted coffee and mouthwatering acidity are balanced by almond sweetness. Pairs beautifully with food.

About the Classico Series

Our Classico Pinot Noir is blended from 100% Pinot noir sourced from the exceptional sites throughout the Willamette Valley with Ponzi’s most established vineyards at its base. The result is a classic New World expression of Oregon Pinot noir with nuances and flavors that are a hallmarks of the region’s varied soils and cool climate. Follow along as we explore some of the vineyards chosen by Winemaker Luisa Ponzi as the truest expressions of the vintage.

Time Posted: Aug 10, 2018 at 10:43 PM Permalink to Classico Vineyards Series: Bieze Permalink
August 1, 2018 |

Charity of the Month - August 2018: Adelante Mujeres

Adelante Mujeres is the August Charity of the Month at Ponzi Vineyards


Adelante Mujeres has been selected as our Charity of the Month. This organization educates and empowers low-income Latina women and families in the state of Oregon. Annually, they serve more than 5,500 families, helping them become full participants and active leaders in the community.

Adelante Mujeres means “women rise up” in Spanish. Founded in 2002, it was created to serve the oft-overlooked population of Latina women by offering programs developed specifically to help them participate in activities and classes. Since then, it has grown to serve Latino youth, children and men as well as women. Adelante Mujeres promotes school readiness for young children, pathways to higher education for youth and lifelong learning for adults. It also provides training, technical assistance, networking opportunities, and strategies for raising capital to help Latino entrepreneurs launch successful and sustainable small businesses, and provides aspiring Latino immigrant farmers and gardeners with the training and skills necessary to grow produce using sustainable methods and to successfully market their products. In 2005, they launched the Forest Grove Farmers Market to provide an outlet for small farmers and food producers to connect with the community by offering fresh, local goods.

This organization was selected as our Charity of the Month by Miguel Ortiz, Vineyard Manager at Ponzi Vineyards. He says, "This program is special to me because it helps youths build strong cultural identity and fosters healthy lifestyles and academic success. Every high school senior involved in the program graduates high school and goes on to college."

We invite you to visit Ponzi Vineyards this month and join us in support of this valuable organization. A portion of every tasting fee will be donated to Adelante Mujeres through the end of August.

Time Posted: Aug 1, 2018 at 3:06 PM Permalink to Charity of the Month - August 2018: Adelante Mujeres Permalink
July 31, 2018 |

2018 International Pinot Noir Celebration Recap

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!

Luisa Ponzi presenting at the International Pinot Noir Celebration

Ponzi Vineyards in company with Burgundy's finest Pinot noir Producers

Time Posted: Jul 31, 2018 at 2:01 PM Permalink to 2018 International Pinot Noir Celebration Recap Permalink
July 27, 2018 |

Women of Pinot: An International Dinner

Women of Pinot: An International Dinner

On Thursday, July 26, 2018, Ponzi Vineyards hosted an international winemaker's dinner, featuring six women winemakers from Alsace, New Zealand, California and Oregon. A beautiful multi-course meal was served, highlighting the sixteen wines presented. Our featured winemakers were

It was such an honor and a pleasure to host these remarkable winemakers and all of our esteemed guests.

View our other exciting upcoming winery events on our calendar.

Women of Pinot: An International Dinner

Women of Pinot: An International Dinner

Women of Pinot: An International Dinner

Women of Pinot: An International DinnerWomen of Pinot: An International Dinner

Time Posted: Jul 27, 2018 at 9:23 PM Permalink to Women of Pinot: An International Dinner Permalink
July 25, 2018 |

The Vineyard Series: Leaf Pulling

In the full heat of summer, the vines are growing steadily and berries are beginning to form on the vines. It’s time to set the stage for harvest. Canopy management is now more important than ever to maintain the ideal microclimate on the vine, and so begins the process of leaf pulling.

Pulling leaves from the growing canopy thins it out, which allows sunshine to reach the grapes and ripen them. A thinner canopy also improves airflow around the tightly packed clusters of developing fruit, which helps prevent mold growth in the cool, damp climate of Oregon’s Willamette Valley and keep pest pressure low. However, care must be taken not to remove too much--when temperatures rise, the grape are at risk for sunburn without some shade coverage provided by leaves. Too much sun can also lead to overripe flavors.

vineyard maintenance leaf pulling

Like most vineyard tasks, leaf pulling is labor-intensive. Every leaf is pulled by hand and selecting which and how many leaves to pull takes skill and experience. The vineyard crew pulls leaves away from the area just above the vine’s cordon, or arms, where the clusters are growing. Many of our crew members have been with us twenty years or more, so they move quickly and efficiently through the rows under the supervision of Vineyard Manager Miguel Ortiz, thinning the canopy perfectly and ensuring beautiful fruit in the fall.

Also called basal leaf removal or cluster-zone leaf removal, leaf pulling is such a crucial part of vineyard management that Oregon State University has been conducting experiments to determine the effects of leaf pulling on grape development. They have found that leaf removal noticeably enhanced color and aroma in fruit more than no leaf removal.

With just the right amount of sun and air, the grapes at Ponzi Vineyards are progressing beautifully.

Read along as we follow the vineyard throughout the year in The Vineyard Series:

Time Posted: Jul 25, 2018 at 10:52 PM Permalink to The Vineyard Series: Leaf Pulling Permalink