Ponzi Vineyards: Second Generation Vintner Sisters Celebrate Women

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Innovative dinner series spotlights accomplished female figures in the wine and food industries.

Maria and Luisa Ponzi

One of Oregon’s founding wineries, Ponzi Vineyards, highlights strong female figures in wine and food with the “Girls’ Night Out” dinner series. With these dinners, the winery, owned and operated by second-generation vintners and sisters, Luisa and Maria Ponzi, spotlights bold women making waves in the industries traditionally dominated by men.

The winemaker dinners, which kicked off in Boulder, Colorado, feature restaurants in top markets around the country throughout 2014 and into early 2015. Many dinners feature a female chef or wine director. The events are marketed toward women, though all wine lovers are invited and encouraged to attend.

One recent dinner, held at Las Vegas’ Piero’s Italian Cuisine, invited guests to spend an evening with winemaker Luisa Ponzi and sommelier Pat Rost. The event featured a four-course menu with wine pairings. The dinners offered guests an opportunity to engage with the wine-savvy women and not only learn about the wines, but about the women’s experiences in the industry.

Winemaker Luisa Ponzi celebrated her 20th vintage with the 2013 harvest last fall. Formally trained in Burgundy, she was the first American woman to complete her degree in viticulture and enology in Beaune, France. There, Luisa refined her palate for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir by tasting in some of the oldest and most respected cellars in the world. She was mentored by and worked with Christophe Roumier of Domaine Georges Roumier in Chambolle Musigny.

Luisa has received critical acclaim for her benchmark Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. By matching thoughtfully farmed fruit with corresponding barrel selections and innovative practices in the cellar, she works with a palette of wine lots to showcase the vintage and stay true to the Ponzi Vineyards’ house style.

Maria Ponzi grew up working alongside her parents, winery founders Dick and Nancy Ponzi, as they helped set the foundation for Oregon’s wine industry. Maria tended the vines, worked in the cellar and on the bottling line, and assisted in the tasting room and with marketing efforts. After receiving her degree in journalism from the University of Oregon, Maria moved to Boston where she worked in publishing for three years. She returned to Portland to work as the marketing director for the then family-owned BridgePort Brewing Company and the family winery. As the director of sales and marketing and president at Ponzi Vineyards, Maria oversees three tasting room locations, national sales and exports.

Ponzi Vineyards continues to pave the way for New World producers, setting the bar for quality, innovation and stewardship of the land. Thriving under the leadership of the second generation for more than 20 years, sisters Luisa and Maria Ponzi have brought the family business into the 21st century, with an array of achievements, including critical acclaim for the wines, construction of a state-of-the-art, four-level, gravity-flow winery and most recently, a new modern tasting room, establishing the winery as an Oregon wine country destination.

For more information about the winery and the “Girls’ Night Out” dinner series visit ponziwines.com.

Contact: Laurel Dent, 503.628.1227

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