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Ponzi Vineyards Sees Oregon Chardonnay On The Rise

June 8, 2015

Oregon winery Ponzi Vineyards has expanded markedly in recent years, significantly boosting production and opening a new winery and tasting room. While the second-generation, family-run company is known for Oregon’s signature Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris varietals, winemaker Luisa Ponzi tells SND that Oregon Chardonnay is also increasingly on consumers’ radar.

Ponzi’s wines are focused toward the on-premise. Its Tavola Pinot Noir ($25) and other bottlings in the $20-$40 retail segment are popular with younger audiences, while its $60-and-above range is favored mostly by Baby Boomers. Ponzi’s 2012 Tavola Pinot Noir ranked 53rd on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines list for 2014. The winery—set on 130 acres of vineyards in Willamette Valley’s Chehalem Mountains—has more than quadrupled its production to 45,000 cases over the past decade. That growth has been accompanied by the recent addition of 40 more acres of vines.

About half of Ponzi’s output is Pinot Noir, closely followed by Pinot Gris, though Chardonnay is making gains from a small base. “Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are Oregon’s go-to varietals, but Chardonnay is becoming very popular for us. It’s been on the backburner for a long time, but we’ve been working on perfecting it,” says Luisa Ponzi, who owns and operates the winery with her sister Anna Maria Ponzi, who serves as president.

Marketed nationally by Wilson Daniels, Ponzi’s biggest markets are in its home region of the Pacific Northwest, especially Portland and Seattle. As Oregon wine’s profile has risen, however, the company’s sales have also been expanding in markets including Texas and Florida.

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