The history of Oregon’s wine country is rooted in a deep respect for the land. The founding wineries of the Willamette Valley built their businesses on principles of sustainability. They took their roles as stewards of the land seriously, and from day one they implemented practices that nurtured both the environment and the people who worked in the vineyards and wineries. You can explore this history further on the Willamette Valley Wineries Association’s website. If you would like to do a tasting tour supporting sustainable wineries, you have a lot of options. We suggest starting with these three.
Stop 1: Ponzi Vineyards
19500 SW Mountain Home Road, Sherwood
Founded by Dick and Nancy Ponzi in 1970, Ponzi Vineyards is now owned and operated by their daughters, Luisa and Anna Maria Ponzi. Their vineyards are LIVE Certified, and they hold long-term contracts with some of the best growers in the region whose vineyards are also certified sustainable. They are Salmon Safe, members of the Carbon Reduction Challenge, utilize cover crops for weed suppression and fertilizers, and operate a four-level gravity-flow winery that was one of the first Oregon facilities awarded the LIVE Winery Certification, meeting LIVE specifications for an eco-friendly building and sustainable winemaking practices. Just 40 minutes from Portland, it’s a must-see.
Stop 2: Rex Hill
30835 OR-99W, Newberg
For your next stop, it’s a quick trip to Newberg to visit Rex Hill. Established in 1982, they were purchased by A to Z Wineworks in 2007. Rex Hill has practiced sustainability from its outset. Their vineyards and winery are LIVE certified and they work with their independent growers to help them farm organically. Their Jacob-Hart Vineyard is Demeter-certified Biodynamic, a philosophy of stringent organic farming practices that considers the physical, energetic and spiritual aspects of farming.
Stop 2: Penner-Ash Cellars
15771 NE Ribbon Ridge Road, Newberg
Your last stop was founded by the legendary Lynn Penner-Ash and her husband, Ron. Penner-Ash was the first female winemaker hired in Oregon at none other than your previous stop, Rex Hill. In 1998, she began crafting her own wines, finally moving into her own sustainable, energy-conserving, gravity-flow winery in 2005. The design of the building takes into consideration ergonomics, putting worker health and safety foremost by eliminating the need for heavy lifting thanks to a system of catwalks and forklifts. Their Estate Vineyard is LIVE Certified and Salmon Safe, as are many of the vineyards they work with via independent growers.
A table wine is more than just a wine for the table. It is something to enjoy today, it pairs with a variety of dishes and will be loved by all. In short, it is a versatile wine crafted for the everyday meal. Fruit-forward and food-friendly Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir celebrates this spirit.
2017 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir
Winemaker Luisa Ponzi notes beautiful aromatics of blackberry, cinnamon stick, dried cranberry and cedar leap from the glass. The mouth is supple with strawberry, balsamic reduction, lavender, thyme and cocoa powder; finishing with soft tannins laced with black licorice.
offered at $27/bottle
(15% off bottles, 20% off cases for members)
A few sips of the Ponzi Dolcetto or Arneis will transport you worlds away. Let these Italian varieties inspire your next dinner menu with a touch of Piedmontese flair. Try our recommended comfort food to pair with each wine.
2016 Ponzi Dolcetto
This rich and delightfully-spiced Dolcetto is the quintessential wine for the winter season. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi notes “hints of hoisin, cloves, caramelized marshmallow and biscotti, which mingle with bright eucalyptus notes and pipe tobacco. The mouth is dark chocolate and Asian spices, leading to a finish of fine grain, present tannin.”
offered at $32/bottle
(15% off bottles, 20% off cases for members)
2016 Ponzi Arneis
For a lighter take on a winter favorite, try Ponzi Arneis, featuring “persimmon, quince, apricot and lemongrass intermingle with wet stone, orange zest and powdered sugar in this perfumed nose. The bright and lithe palate has a touch of honeyed sweetness, toasted almond and key lime.”
offered at $32/bottle
(15% off bottles, 20% off cases for members)
2lbs. boneless beef (chuck steak), veal (shoulder) or both
1/4 C. olive oil
1/4 C. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
Bouquet garni: tie together fresh sage, bay leaf, sprig of rosemary, celery leaves, a celery stalk stuck with 5 to 6 cloves and parsley (tie together with kitchen twine)
Hint of cinnamon
2 C. dry white wine
1 qt. beef broth
1 C. whole milk or cream
1. Cut the meat into small or large, but somewhat uniform, cubes.
2. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed casserole.
3. Brown the garlic and remove. Take care not to burn.
4. Add the sliced onions to the oil and cook until quite tender, not brown
5. Add the meat to the oil and onions and brown evenly.
6. Add the bouquet garni and cinnamon.
7. Add the wine and cook a few minutes to reduce slightly.
8. Add the broth.
9. Salt and pepper to taste.
10. Bring to boiling point, reduce heat and simmer 2 hours. Check occasionally to ensure there's sufficient liquid.
11. Remove the bouqet garni and adjust the seasonings.
112. Just before serving, add the cream and reheat. Serve in bowls accompanied with Italian bread. Polenta is a suggested accompaniment.
This stew can be adjusted to your taste and available ingredients. Use a half-pound of ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped. The liquid can be all wine (red if you prefer) or more broth. Use other vegetables, such as potatoes, artichokes, peas, carrots or mushrooms, adding them the last 30 minutes of cooking. Butter, cream and restrained use of garlic (note the garlic is removed after flavoring the oil) are typical of Piemontese cuisine.
2 C. Arborio or Carnaroli rice
9 oz. fresh mushrooms
3 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 C. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 C. roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
2 qt. chicken stock
1/3 C. butter, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 C. medium-bodied white wine
3/4 C. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
1. Prepare the mushrooms by cleaning as gently as possible. Don't wash unless it's really necessary, as they are so tender. Be sure to use a soft brush or cloth.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and quickly sauté mushrooms with the garlic, thyme, 1/4 cup of the parsley and the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan and keep warm
4. Melt half the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and sauté until soft.
5. Add the rice and sauté, stirring constantly, until the rice absorbs the butter and begins to look transparent.
6. Add the wine and boil until it is almost evaporated.
7. Add 2 ladles of warm stock and keep stirring.
8. Add the sautéed mushrooms and keep stirring. Reduce heat.
9. As the rice dries. Keep adding ladles of stock in small amounts until the rice is at your favorite consistency.
10. Add 1/2 cup of the grated cheese and stir in. Adjust the seasoning.
11. Serve in shallow bowls and garnish with reserved parsley. Additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano may be served to accompany the risotto.
Once you feel confident making risotto, variations are limited only by your creativity. Red wine risotto is also a classic dish more commonly served with game birds. With red wine, use vegetable, veal or beef stock instead of chicken.
Since its founding in 1970, Ponzi Vineyards has proudly championed local organizations that offer vital support to our community. With the opening of the new tasting room in Sherwood in 2013, the Ponzi family launched the Charity of the Month program. The program benefits a different local charity each month with the donation of a portion of all tasting fees.
In 2018, the following organizations received support thanks to patrons like you.
Family of Friends
David Sheldrick Foundation
Hope for Autism
¡Salud! (Auction host and member of the Vintners Circle)
We are grateful to you and wish you a peaceful New Year.
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:
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!
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.
Throughout the month of December, a portion of tasting fees from the Ponzi Vineyards tasting room will be donated to Community Action, an organization that works to eliminate conditions of poverty and create opportunities for people and communities to thrive.
Community Action’s vision is a Washington County whose residents are strong, resilient, involved in the community and living with dignity and security. They work and innovate with community partners to offer hope, help and change for residents in need. They do this through programs in the areas of Energy Assistance, Family Development, Early Childhood Development and Housing Stability. They have a genuine concern and knowledge regarding issues of poverty. Recognized and respected, they work collaboratively with funders and other service providers and act as a community leader and catalyst in community efforts to address homelessness and affordable housing.
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 Community Action through the end of December.
Why select just one wine, when you can gift several stunning selections in one. Beautifully displayed in a hand-crafted wooden box, choose from one of our signature gift sets:
Or customize your own set with a selection of any Ponzi wine added to a 1, 2, 3 or 6-bottle wooden box. Shop wooden boxes and other merchandise.