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Oregon Pinot Briefs —Newsletter 12.27

Ponzi Vineyards Transition In 2021, Champagne Bollinger acquired Ponzi Vineyards. The transaction includes the Ponzi Vineyards brand, wine inventory, winery, hospitality centers, and 35 acres of vineyards in the Laurelwood sub-AVA of the Willamette Valley. The Ponzi family will retain about 100 acres of vineyards and will sell grapes to Bollinger under contract. Etienne Bizot, Chairman of Societe Jacques Bollinger (SJB) decided to improve their consumer following in the United States by investing in the United States. Winemaker Louisa Ponzi provides continuity by continuing her role for the time being. There are no plans to change the Ponzi wines stylistically but there will be a turn to lower volumes and more upper-tier wines. Jean-Baptiste Rivail, CEO of Ponzi Vineyards, has relocated his family to the Willamette Valley. Visit

First the French and now the Italians Buying into Oregon In January 2022, Santa Margherita (SM) USA, a subsidiary of Santa Margherita Gruppo Vinicolo, assumed majority ownership of Roco Winery. Based in Newberg, Roco was founded twenty years ago by Rollin Soles and investors. The winery’s highly-touted wines include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and sparklers. The Italians, like the French, have shown interest in Oregon because it is now a global wine brand backed up by its reputation for quality and offering lower real estate prices compared to California. The name, Roco, fits nicely into the Italian wine portfolio. Visit

Domaine Serene Buys Domaine in Burgundy Domaine Serene’s expansion in Burgundy continued with the acquisition in 2021 of Domaine Christian Confuron & Fils. The Domaine has 15 acres of grands crus and premiers crus vineyards in the Cߐte de Nuits. Evenstad Estates is the current owner of Domaine Serene and Burgundy’s Chateau de la Crߐe. Buying properties in Burgundy is a complicated process for non-natives but Evenstad president Ryan Harris has proven to the French that they are reliable business people and exceptional wine producers.

Oregon Wine Industry Leads DTC Sales The Oregon wine industry led the United States in direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales in 2021. The annual report issued by Sovos ShipCompliant and Wines Vines Analytics revealed that Oregon wineries shipped 560,702 cases of wine valued at $285.5 million. This represents an increase of 12% in volume and 18.7% in sales value over 2020, far outperforming all other wine regions in the United States. Pinot Noir dominated the share of Oregon DTC sales, accounting for more than 50% of the state’s wine shipments and two-thirds of the total sales value. Shipments of Pinot Noir increased 8.2%. Oregon only produces 2% of the wine in the United States, but the high quality of the wines has driven demand. Although Pinot Noir is the state’s number one wine, Chardonnay has attracted more attention, with plantings increasing 43% to 2,600 acres between 2016 and 2021. The remarkable sales of Oregon wine have come despite the largest year-over-year increase in the average price per bottle up 11.8% to $41.16. Inflation, supply chain shortages, and lack of workers are future worries and price increases will undoubtedly continue to rise by 10-15%. In this issue, the SRP of reviewed Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs, mainly the 2019 vintage, ranged from $28 to $85 with an average price of $69.

Look for 2020 Rosé and White Pinot Noir from Oregon Because of the threat of smoke taint resulting from the extensive wildfires in Oregon in 2020, rather than risk a smoke-affected Pinot Noir, vintners turned to White Pinot Noir, sparkling wine and Rosߐ from Pinot Noir grapes. With White Pinot Noir, the grapes are very lightly pressed to ensure that little or no color is extracted from the grape skins and then the juice is vinified like a white wine. At the recent Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, advice was delivered on how to deal with smoke taint. The closer a vineyard is to the fire, and smoke that is less than 24 hours lead to a greater chance of smoke taint. Grapes absorb free volatile phenols quickly when exposed to smoke as a defense mechanism of the plant. Research is only now beginning to understand the interactions of bound and free volatile phenols. Washing grapes in the vineyard is ineffective. Fortunately, there is no carryover from a smoke-exposed vintage to the next vintage.

Maison Louis Jadot Purchases Koosah Vineyard & Farm Koosah is 82.5 acres of land with 44 under vine in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA This new site, planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, was developed by Kevin and Carla Chambers who also established Résonance Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA that was sold to Jadot in 2013. Jadot now has 138 acres of vineyards in the Willamette Valley in three different AVAs (the third property is the 15-acre Découverte Vineyard in the Dundee Hills). The winery currently produces about 10,000 cases of wine annually at a winery located on the Résonance Vineyard property.

The Eyrie Celebration - Live! On February 22, 1965, David Lett planted the first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in the Willamette Valley.. On February 22, 2022, a free webinar will be offered featuring Eyrie co-founder Diana Lett, second-generation proprietor Jason Lett, and longtime Eyrie ambassador and assistant winemaker emeritus Amy McCandish Esper. The host will be sommelier Jason Kallsen of The Wine Workshop. The one hour webinar will feature stories about the early days from Diana Lett well as information about new vintages and releases with Jason Lett and Amy McCandish Esper. If you are unable to watch live, all participants will receive a link to watch at their leisure. Participation is absolutely free. For questions email Jason Kallsen at or Amy McCandish Esper at The link:

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