Famed French winemakers buy 35-acre vineyards near Sherwood
Trailblazing Oregon winery Ponzi Vineyards has been purchased by the famed French wine company Champagne Bollinger.
The Bollinger family announced the sale of the winery about seven miles west of Sherwood Wednesday, April 7, marking its first acquisition of a winery outside France.
The sale includes Ponzi's hospitality facilities, its 40,000-case winery and 35 acres of vineyards. The sale price was not disclosed in the announcement.
Dick and Nancy Ponzi founded Ponzi Vineyards on a 20-acre farm in 1970. It has since grown to include 175 acres of vines, 100 of which the Ponzi family will retain, selling grapes to Ponzi Vineyards under a long-term contract.
The Bollinger family, which started its winemaking operation in 1829, owns four French wine appellations — a defined and protected geographic area where grapes for specific wines are grown.
"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," said Luisa Ponzi, the winery's Burgundy, France-trained lead winemaker. "This transaction makes sense for our respective families because of our well-aligned values and shared commitment to producing wines of the very highest quality."
Anna Maria Ponzi, the winery's president said, "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. This is the natural next step for our brand and winery."
Under the leadership of a new CEO, whose recruitment is ongoing, Anna Maria will continue to lead the sales & marketing over the transition period and Luisa will remain as the director of viticulture and winemaking, the sale announcement said.
"If there was anywhere outside of France where we felt it was critical to invest, it is in the U.S.," said Etienne Bizot, chairman and chief executive of the Bolliger family's holding group, adding the American market is important for luxury wines originating from the family's wineries.
"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," Bizot continued. "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."
The timing of the full transition is subject to customary regulatory processes and approvals, the sale announcement said.
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