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Ponzi Blog

 
June 22, 2018 |

Classico Vineyards Series: Alloro

 

Alloro Vineyard

The Willamette Valley is perfectly suited in every way for Pinot noir. There is an abundance of beautiful growing sites. Ponzi Vineyards is lucky to farm some of the best  at our Avellana, Aurora and Paloma 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, 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 Alloro Vineyard for its remarkable fruit intensity.

Alloro Vineyard

Originally planted in 1999, this 34-acre vineyard sweeps across a west-to-east southern aspect on Laurel Ridge in the Chehalem Mountains AVA in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. At 450-700 feet of elevation, the Laurelwood soil--a deep, wind-blown loess topsoil over decomposed basalt--creates optimal conditions for sustainable dry farming at this LIVE certified site.

Alloro’s growers have a philosophy of seeking “purity of flavor” in their grapes, meaning all of their growing practices are designed to draw out the site’s true personality. Beginning early in the growing season, they predict the year’s weather patterns and plan for canopy and crop-load management techniques that will encourage proper development.

The abundance of older vines and lots of sun in the afternoon make for the dark, lush fruit flavors in our Classico blend.

“As a grower, we have enjoyed working with the Ponzi Family and the Ponzi Vineyards team for over 15 years," says David Nemarnik of Alloro Vineyars. "Luisa makes us feel like family! The quality of Ponzi’s Classico Pinot noir shows the passion and attention to detail that goes into crafting such well-made Oregon wine!”

Alloro Vineyard

2015 Ponzi Classico Pinot Noir

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: Jun 22, 2018 at 3:25 PM
 
June 19, 2018 |

Vineyard Series: Tucking the Vines

 

untucked grapevines

Grape vines grow quickly! It seems like we just had bud break and now the vines are already growing tall and full.

The grapevine canopy is made up of shoots and leaves which need to be thinned and tucked throughout the growing season. Thinning is the process of removing extra shoots to give the remaining ones greater and more even access to sunlight. Thinning also improves fruit quality, as the plant can focus resources rather than spreading them thin.

tucked grapevines

The remaining vines grow out and down, and if left unattended will eventually reach the ground where they are susceptible to damage, pests and disease. To avoid this, the vines are tucked up between wires that encourage upward growth and create a uniform distribution of foliage that minimizes shading of the fruit. The increased air flow and sunlight penetration around the vine lessens disease pressure on the plant, as well. Tucking also keeps the rows looking neat and tidy. Compare the “before” photo (at top) with the “after” photo:

Tucking is done by hand several times during the growing season. It’s labor-intensive work and care must be taken not to break the growing vines. Our amazing crew, led by Vineyard Manager Miguel Ortiz, is quick and efficient--many of them have been with us for nearly 20 years or more! Through their skill and expertise, the vines are kept tucked and safe, ready for the next stage of growth when they begin to flower.

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

Time Posted: Jun 19, 2018 at 10:46 PM
 
June 15, 2018 |

Happy Father's Day, Dick Ponzi

Dick Ponzi with Anna Maria and Luisa Ponzi

A father is a man who creates, then nurtures and protects that creation with wisdom and love. We can think of no one who embodies that idea more than Dick Ponzi.

Dick’s entire life has been one of creation: first and foremost a husband and father, he is an engineer, pioneer, educator, brewer, winemaker, builder, lobbyist and mentor. He is one of the founding fathers of the Oregon wine industry and has been a tireless protector it, nurturing the industry into the thriving force it is today. Beyond his career as a PCC educator for decades, he also taught and mentored several winemakers who later went on to build their own wineries.

He is also one of the founding fathers of Oregon’s brewing industry, having established one of the first craft breweries in the state and then lobbying to legalize brewpubs.

When you consider how much Oregon’s wine and beer industries have contributed to the state’s image and economy, you can argue that Dick is one of the founding fathers of Oregon’s booming tourism and culinary industries, too.

So this year for Father’s Day, we raise a glass of fine Oregon Pinot noir to him, and look back with respect and gratitude on all this renaissance man has crafted and raised up.

Dick Ponzi timeline

Time Posted: Jun 15, 2018 at 11:26 AM
 
June 8, 2018 |

CHARITY OF THE MONTH - JUNE 2018: A HOPE FOR AUTISM

 

THROUGHOUT JUNE 2018, A PORTION OF EVERY TASTING FEE AT PONZI VINEYARDS WILL BE DONATED TO A HOPE FOR AUTISM.

A Hope for Autism (AHFA) has been selected as our Charity of the Month. This organization provides evidence-based treatment to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, helping them achieve their highest potential regardless of their financial situation or insurance plan. Using internationally recognized methods, AHFA positively impacts children’s lives by providing individualized therapy and education for children with autism and related disorders and their families, and strives to assist and educate the community about autism.

This organization was selected as our Charity of the Month by Peter Van Etten, Tasting Room and Club Sales Manager at Ponzi Vineyards. “I selected Hope for Autism for their work with families affected by autism,” says Van Etten. “My wife is currently in a graduate program for speech language pathology and she has helped me become more aware of the different struggles kids and their parents face when diagnosed with autism. As a parent, I could only imagine how difficult it would be and I’m thankful A Hope for Autism can provide these important services to support the families affected by autism.”

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 A Hope for Autism through the end of June.

Time Posted: Jun 8, 2018 at 11:30 AM
 
June 4, 2018 |

Meet the Maker: Artist Barbara Rawls

 

artist Barbara Rawls

The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards is a wine country hospitality space like no other. Every detail has been thoughtfully planned and even the smallest element has been crafted to reflect the history, values and aesthetics of Ponzi Vineyards and the Willamette Valley. Dedicated to supporting local makers, the Ponzi Family found the perfect visual artist for this project with fine art painter Barbara Rawls.

Previously working in ceramics, Rawls has been painting for 15 years. She works primarily with acrylic, sometimes also incorporating plaster, charcoal, collage and graphite to create complex layers. She marks the work with scribing and scraping tools. “To create history and depth in the surface,” Rawls says.

It’s this depth of history that makes Rawls the right choice for The Laurelwood, a space that pays homage to a rustic past while looking forward into the future. Rawls’ husband once lived at the Ponzi Historic Estate and helped with some of the first vines planted by Ponzi Vineyards. This long connection between the families gives Rawls a truly personal perspective on The Laurelwood and enabled her to create a piece that fit perfectly into the space.

The painting is a triptych and blends abstract landscape with realism, with the Ponzi Historic Estate set among contemporary forms. Larger than most of her work, it is prominently displayed behind the marble bar in The Pearl Room, the intimate reception area of The Laurelwood.

painting in The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards

“The space works really well for my piece,” states Rawls, “with the lighting and the dark wall and the marble.”

This is not the first work Rawls has created for Ponzi Vineyards: two other pieces are displayed in the Tasting Room, where Rawls’ abstract, color-driven shapes complement the modern lines of the room’s design.

painting in Ponzi Vineyards tasting roompainting in the Ponzi Vineyards tasting room

The triptych created for The Laurelwood is a perfect match for this hospitality space grounded in a legacy that has had such an influence on Oregon history and that endures into the future. Rawl’s work resonates that concept by grounding images of the past in strong colors, shapes and textures. In selecting artists and craftspeople for The Laurelwood, Ponzi Vineyards looked for not just skill, but also for people who have an intrinsic understanding of the area and its culture, and who contribute to the elevation of the region’s prominence through their work. Joining Rawls on that roster are a gifted woodworker, ceramicist and metalworker. The synergy of their creations is unique, yet reflective of the past, making The Laurelwood truly one of a kind.

To inquire about The Laurelwood, contact events@ponzivineyards.com or call (503) 628-1227.

Time Posted: Jun 4, 2018 at 1:58 PM
 
May 30, 2018 |

Meet the Maker: Woodworker Finn Enger

Woodworker Finn Enger

The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards is a wine country hospitality space like no other. Every detail has been thoughtfully planned and even the smallest element has been crafted to reflect the values and aesthetics of Ponzi Vineyards and the Willamette Valley. Dedicated to supporting local makers, the Ponzi Family found the perfect woodworker for this project with Finn Enger.

Enger is a highly skilled finish carpenter and woodworker who has worked with Ponzi Vineyards before on other projects. He works primarily on custom projects doing specialty work, such as with The Laurelwood, where his attention to detail was a crucial skill.

“We take extreme care in making sure things are accurate and put together in the highest possible way,” says Enger of himself and his team.

Ponzi Vineyards is pleased to have partnered with Enger for some of the most impressive features of our new hospitality space, The Laurelwood. The design of The Laurelwood pays tribute to founders Dick and Nancy Ponzi while moving forward into the future under the leadership of sisters Anna Maria and Luisa Ponzi.

The unique elements of The Laurelwood provided Enger with plenty of challenges. Of the large, converging pocket doors, Enger says, “[It] was a pretty interesting endeavour, because there was a lot of detail involved in getting the doors to operate properly.” He laughs, “And they were extremely heavy. It’s … a cool design that turned out really nice.”

converging pocket doors


One of the most striking features of The Laurelwood is the barreled ceiling that stretches uninterrupted for the length of the space. “[It] really stands out as a different feature from other projects that I’ve worked on,” says Enger.

His other favorite detail? “The oak foyer is a cool feature--very warm feeling, very inviting.”

The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards

The warmth of the wood is a perfect match for this hospitality space inspired by the original home of the Ponzi Family. In selecting artists and craftspeople for The Laurelwood, Ponzi Vineyards looked for not just skill, but also for people who have an intrinsic understanding of the area and its culture, and who contribute to the elevation of the region’s prominence through their work. Joining Enger on that roster are a gifted metalworker, ceramicist, architect and painter. The synergy of their creations is unique, yet reflective of the past, making The Laurelwood truly one of a kind.

“It’s nice to see it all come together,” says Enger.

To inquire about The Laurelwood, contact events@ponzivineyards.com or call (503) 628-1227.

Time Posted: May 30, 2018 at 9:23 PM
 
May 11, 2018 |

Meet the Maker: Metalworker Jeff Whitaker of Jeffmade

Jeff Whitaker of Jeffmade

The Laurelwood at Ponzi Vineyards is a wine country hospitality space like no other. Every detail has been thoughtfully planned and even the smallest element has been crafted to reflect the values and aesthetics of Ponzi Vineyards and the Willamette Valley. Dedicated to supporting local makers, the Ponzi Family found the perfect metalworker for this project with Jeff Whitaker of Jeffmade.

Whitaker has been working with metal for 25 years, initially as an artist using it to express abstract ideas. Taking inspiration from the natural world, he made objects that looked as though they had been grown or eroded rather than made with tools. He began receiving requests to use his skills to craft more utilitarian objects. Though he resisted at first, seeing such projects as a potential distraction from his artistic work, he discovered there was not a compromise at all between art and function. Rather, he discovered he enjoyed working within project parameters.

door hardware by Jeff Whitaker

He now takes on a variety of projects, striving for elegant design utilizing these powerful materials to create something that remains beautiful forever. This devotion to his craft has attracted a client list that reads like a “Best of Portland” list: Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, Mediterranean Exploration Company and Pine State Biscuits, to name just a few.

Ponzi Vineyards is very pleased to have partnered with Jeffmade for some of the most impressive features of our new hospitality space, The Laurelwood. The design of The Laurelwood pays tribute to founders Dick and Nancy Ponzi while moving forward into the future under the leadership of sisters Anna Maria and Luisa Ponzi. Whitaker’s work resonates that concept with elegant designs grounded in strong materials that still possess their natural characteristics.

display cabinet by Jeff Whitaker


Whitaker initially worked with Ponzi Vineyards during our construction of the Tasting Room, creating the door hardware and fireplace screen. It was a natural choice to bring him back to work on The Laurelwood. For this ambitious project, he created the fireplace that is the focal point of the space, as well as the door hardware, the metal facing, and the truly impressive display cabinet.

steel facing by Jeff Whitaker

The permanence of steel is such a perfect match for this hospitality space grounded in a legacy that has had such an influence on Oregon history and that endures into the future. In selecting artists and craftspeople for The Laurelwood, Ponzi Vineyards looked for not just skill, but also for people who have an intrinsic understanding of the area and its culture, and who contribute to the elevation of the region’s prominence through their work. Joining Whitaker on that roster are a gifted woodworker, ceramicist and architect. The synergy of their creations is unique, yet reflective of the past, making The Laurelwood truly one of a kind.

To inquire about The Laurelwood, contact events@ponzivineyards.com or call (503) 628-1227.

Time Posted: May 11, 2018 at 11:41 AM
 
May 2, 2018 |

CHARITY OF THE MONTH - MAY 2018: HENDERSON HOUSE

THROUGHOUT MAY 2018, A PORTION OF EVERY TASTING FEE AT PONZI VINEYARDS WILL BE DONATED TO HENDERSON HOUSE.

Henderson House has been selected as our Charity of the Month. This organization is comprised of advocates, preventers, supporters and allies who develop programs to connect people to resources, educate about the realities of violence and sexual assault experiences, and shed light on social injustices. They provide a wide range of crucial services, including leading support groups, assisting clients with filling out protection order paperwork, assisting clients with escape from dangerous situations, and much more.

Their mission is to provide culturally aware outreach, education and services for victims of domestic and sexual violence through leadership, hope and respect for thriving families.

This organization was selected as our Charity of the Month by Val Hoxie, Operations and HR Manager at Ponzi Vineyards. “This is a cause close to my heart,” says Hoxie. “I think people tend to forget this is something that occurs all the time, to people in every walk of life. If there’s any chance to help, I’m in.”

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 Henderson House.

Time Posted: May 2, 2018 at 9:59 AM
 
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
 
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.

Profile
  • 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.
Pairing

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.

Profile
  • 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.
Pairing

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