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Bollinger to acquire US-based Ponzi Vineyards

The Bollinger family has announced the acquisition of Oregon-based Ponzi Vineyards which will be its first winery in the US.

The purchase includes the winery and hospitality facilities 40 minutes from Portland, Oregon, in addition to the 35 acres of vineyards.

Bollinger chairman and CEO Etienne Bizot said: “The US is such an important market for luxury champagne, Burgundy, Sancerre, Cognac, and other regions in which our family owns wineries.

“If there was anywhere outside of France where we felt it was critical to invest, it is in the US. 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.

“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 Ponzi family will retain 100 acres of vineyards and will grow and sell the grapes to Ponzi Vineyards under a long-term contract.

Vintus, current Ponzi Vineyards national sales and marketing agent, and importer of Champagne Bollinger, Champagne Ayala, Domaine Chanson and Langlois-Chateau, will continue to represent Ponzi’s trade distribution in the US.

Severe frost devastates French vineyards

Vineyards across France have been hit hard by overnight frosts, partially compromising the 2021 harvest.

The frost has hit 80 per cent of French vineyards across most of France’s winegrowing regions, including the Rhône Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and the Loire.

The French government has declared an ‘agricultural disaster’.

“We already know that some sectors have been affected in their entirety. We will not be able to measure the real impact of this frost episode until the next 24 to 48 hours,” said Philippe Pellaton, president of Inter-Rhône.

“My most sincere thoughts go to all the vine-growers hard hit by this unprecedented frost episode.”

Temperatures dipped as low as -5C as winemakers lit braseros, straw fires and candles throughout the night in attempts to spare the buds already bloomed.

While the extent of the devastation is not yet fully understood, the frost arrives as a new threat to an industry already damaged by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. tariffs.

Symington family bottles six vintage ports for 2019

The Symingtons have bottled six Quinta Vintage Ports from 2019 and will release two en primeur – Quinta do Vesúvio and Dow’s Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira.

The release will be accompanied by two limited edition cases from both estates, each containing the 2019, 2009 and 1999 vintage ports.

The other Quinta Vintage Ports produced in 2019 – Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos, Dow’s Quinta do Bomfim, Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha and Cockburn’s Quinta dos Canais – will remain in the Symington cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia for future release.

Charles Symington, fourth generation winemaker, said: “When reviewing the top wines from 2019, we felt that the best expression of our grape varieties came from our six principal quintas.

“These estate wines are always the starting point from which we judge the year’s vintage port potential and, from there, decide what to bottle. In 2019, the various plots of vineyards within each of these estates delivered small volumes of wine with fantastic depth and complexity.

“We believe these wines could not have been enhanced by blending across each of our port houses’ top quintas to produce a ‘classic’ vintage port. Instead, we decided to blend the best performing components within each of our estates and bottle six Quinta Vintage Ports.

“These exciting and lively young wines represent the absolute pinnacle of the 2019 harvest. They are stunning today and I believe they will age beautifully over many decades.”