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Exclusive: France’s Bollinger Family Acquires Oregon’s Ponzi Vineyards

April 7, 2021

The Bollinger family, known for its namesake Champagne brand and other French luxury wines and spirits, is set to make its first acquisition outside France, agreeing to acquire Oregon stalwart Ponzi Vineyards for an undisclosed sum.

Established by Willamette Valley pioneers Dick and Nancy Ponzi in the late 1960s, Ponzi is recognized as one of Oregon’s leading producers, positioned firmly at the upscale tier. Its core wines include Pinot Gris ($20), Chardonnay Reserve ($40), Tavola Pinot Noir ($27), Laurelwood Pinot Noir ($42), and Pinot Noir Reserve ($70). Annual production is approximately 30,000 cases.

New York-based importer and marketer Vintus handles both Bollinger and Ponzi in the U.S. “Two generations of the Ponzi family have built a strong brand while elevating the importance of Oregon wines in restaurants and at retail throughout the U.S.,” Vintus founder and CEO Michael Quinttus told SND. “With Bollinger’s resources, leadership and vision, the future development of the Ponzi brand with our distributor partners will only accelerate, particularly given the powerful growth in market interest for exceptional Pinot Noir.”

The purchase includes the winery and hospitality facilities 40 minutes from Portland, Oregon in addition to 35 acres of vineyard land in the newly established Laurelwood District AVA. The Ponzi family will retain 100 acres of vineyard land and will grow and sell the grapes to Ponzi Vineyards under a long-term contract.

Bollinger will recruit a new CEO to helm the Ponzi business moving forward. Second-generation family member Anna Maria Ponzi will continue to lead sales and marketing over the transition period, and Luisa Ponzi will remain director of viticulture and winemaking.

“The United States is such an important market for luxury Champagne, Burgundy, Sancerre, Cognac, and other regions in which our family owns wineries,” stated Bollinger Family holding company chairman and CEO Etienne Bizot. “If there was anywhere outside of France where we felt it was critical to invest, it is in the U.S. 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 added that the deal offers the opportunity to build on Ponzi’s legacy while “connecting all our brands more closely with the U.S. market.”

In addition to the Bollinger brand itself, the family’s drinks holdings include Champagne Ayala, Chanson Père & Fils in Burgundy, Delamain in Cognac and Langlois-Chateau in the Loire Valley.—Daniel Marsteller

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