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Local pinot hero will be owned by a real French Champagne maker Bollinger; new CEO en route

WILLIAM JAMES PHOTOGRAPHY - The Ponzi tasting room designed by Portland-based Fogelstrom Design Build and Dick Ponzi. Ponzi has been bought by SJB, the holding company of the Bollinger family, known for its Champagne.French Champagne family, the Bollingers, have bought Oregon's Ponzi Vineyards.

It is Bollnger's first acquisition of a winery in the United States. The Bollinger family owns the iconic Champagne Bollinger in addition to four other historic estates in France.

Ponzi Vineyards is one of Oregon's highest-profile wine brands. Ponzi has helped internationalize the region's Pinot Noir over the last 50 years.

Bollinger family holding group Chairman & CEO Etienne Bizot said in a release, "The United States is such an important market for luxury Champagne, Burgundy, Sancerre, Cognac, and other regions in which our family owns wineries. If there was anywhere outside of France where we felt it was critical to invest, it is in the U.S."

COURTESY: SJB  - On buying WIllamette Valley vineyard Ponzi, Bollinger family holding group Chairman & CEO Etienne Bizot said in a release,  "The United States is such an important market for luxury Champagne, Burgundy, Sancerre, Cognac, and other regions in which our family owns wineries. If there was anywhere outside of France where we felt it was critical to invest, it is in the U.S."

Bizot spoke of a special relationship with Ponzi.

"We have quietly considered opportunities for a number of years, but it is finally with the Ponzi family that we feel we have found the ideal fit. Their bold vision to come to Oregon, the subsequent decades of recognition for continually innovating and improving — we have so much respect for what the Ponzis have achieved, and look forward to building on it together and connecting all our brands more closely with the U.S. market."

Luisa Ponzi, the winery's recognized leading winemaker who trained in Burgundy, said, "We have dedicated our lives to demonstrating Oregon's Willamette Valley as one of the greatest places on the planet for producing cool climate, high-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The Ponzis are hoping for a bump from the Bollinger brand.

PHOTO: CAROLYN WELLS KRAMER - Anna Maria Ponzi (L) and Luisa Ponzi will stay at Ponzi but a new CEO will be brought in by parent company SBJ and the Bollinger company.

"It gives us immense satisfaction to have the opportunity to pass our legacy winery on to the Bollinger family, who will continue to elevate the brand on a global scale," Winery President Anna Maria Ponzi shares. "This is the natural next step for our brand and winery."

The purchase includes the winery and hospitality facilities 40 minutes from Portland, in addition to 35 acres of vineyard land in the newly established Laurelwood District AVA.

The locals will get a new CEO from outside the company.

Anna Maria Ponzi will continue to lead the sales and marketing over the transition period, and Luisa Ponzi will remain as the Director of Viticulture and Winemaking. The Ponzi family will retain 100 acres of vineyard land and grow and sell the grapes to Ponzi Vineyards under a long-term contract.

Bollinger has been owned and controlled by the same family since 1829 and will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2029. SJB, the Bollinger family's holding company, comprises domains in four French wine appellations: Bollinger & Ayala in Champagne, Chanson Père & Fils in Burgundy, Delamain in Cognac, and Langlois-Chateau in the Loire Valley. These domains are all linked to their terroir by owning and farming vineyards.

In the late '60s, Dick and Nancy Ponzi moved to Oregon's Willamette Valley. Over the past 30 years, the Ponzi daughters have expanded the family vineyards and winery facilities, incorporating innovation into its winemaking, viticulture and hospitality. The family also established the state's first craft brewery in 1984 and one of the valley's first regional restaurants in 1999, now owned and operated by son and brother, Michel and his family.


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