Ponzi's milestone celebrated in style

All need kickers

Of the News-Register

Dick Ponzi joined a stalwart little band of would-be Oregon winemakers in 1970. In his book, "The Boys Up North," fellow trailblazer Dick Erath counted Ponzi, along with himself and four others, as the "true" pioneers.

A lot has happened since then.

Dick and his wife, Nancy, handed the reins over time to their three children, Luisa, Maria and Michel. Luisa assumed primary winemaking from her father in 1993, and said her priority was to control fermentation temperatures and introduce longer maceration time.

Still, Dick continued to contribute to Ponzi's big picture, as evidenced in 2008 construction of their new winery, Collina del Sogno or Hillside of Dreams, on the Washington County side of the Chehalem Mountains.

The family’s 40th anniversary gala was a sold-out affair attended by a veritable who's who of the Oregon wine industry, and featured the progression of Ponzi wines over the last 30 years.

Dick and Luisa Ponzi co-hosted the tasting, which led off with the 1979. Dick was astounded at the fresh sweetness of the fruit, exclaiming, "It's hard to believe this is 31 years old."

The next wine was a 1985, exhibiting the classic character of Burgundian earthiness combined with tasty fruit and spicy notes for a mature yet still solid wine.

The tasting continued into the 1990s, then 2002, 2005 and a then-not-yet-released 2008. It was a terrific prelude for the main event, a star-studded soiree the likes of which is seldom seen in Wine Country.

The featured speakers included Dick Erath, David Adelsheim, Myron Redford and Susan Sokol Blosser. Greg Robeson, who has long been associated with the Classic Wines Auction, served as master of ceremonies for a memorable evening filled with fabulous food, great wine and wonderful reminisces about the past four decades.

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