ZEPPONI & COMPANY PRESS RELEASE
Santa Rosa, Calif., May 5, 2021 – Zepponi & Company, a leading merger and acquisition advisory firm specializing in the beverage alcohol industry, is pleased to announce that it served as exclusive financial advisor to Oregon’s Ponzi Vineyards on its sale to France’s Bollinger family, owners of Champagne Bollinger. The transaction closed on Wednesday, May 4, 2021.
Established in 1970, Ponzi Vineyards was one of the earliest wineries in the Willamette Valley. Inspired by a vacation in Burgundy, Dick and Nancy Ponzi brought their young family from California to Oregon in 1969. Dick, an engineer by trade, had been making wine at home for years, and believed Oregon was capable of producing world class Pinot Noir. The Willamette Valley was not an established winegrowing region in the early 1970s. There were only four wineries at the time and the main crops were hazelnuts, cherries, apples and hay. Experts at University of California at Davis claimed that Oregon was too cold to grow Pinot Noir, but the Ponzis persisted. They collaborated with other winemaking pioneers including David Lett, Dick Erath and David Adelsheim, and together they laid the groundwork for Oregon’s modern wine industry. Ponzi Vineyards celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020.
Société Jacques Bollinger (SJB), the Bollinger family’s holding company, had been researching the U.S. market for years. “The main reason SJB selected a Willamette Valley winery is based on the latitude of this region and its climate similarities to that of Burgundy and Champagne,” chairman and CEO Étienne Bizot told Wine Spectator. “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.” In addition to the Bollinger brand, SJB owns Ayala in Champagne, Chanson Père & Fils in Burgundy, Delamain in Cognac and Langlois-Chateau in the Loire Valley.
Mario Zepponi, principal of Zepponi & Company, commented on the deal: “The heritage and values of these two celebrated wine families made for an excellent partnership for the continuation of the Ponzi Vineyards legacy. The Bollinger family is the ideal steward to usher the Ponzi Vineyards luxury wine brand into its next level of growth.”
The transaction includes the Ponzi Vineyards brand, related inventory, winery and hospitality center, and 35 acres of LIVE Certified Sustainable vineyards in the Laurelwood sub-AVA of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The Ponzi family will retain approximately 100 acres of vineyard and will sell grapes to Bollinger under a long-term contract. The purchase price was not disclosed.
About Zepponi & Company
Zepponi & Company is a leading global mergers and acquisitions advisory firm that is dedicated to the beverage alcohol industry, and has been the most active advisor in the North American wine sector. The firm has served as the financial advisor on numerous transactions involving ultra-premium and luxury beverage alcohol brands and assets, such as the Bib & Tucker, Masterson’s, and Ransom spirits brands, as well as Diamond Creek Vineyard, Pahlmeyer, Orin Swift, Meiomi, Patz & Hall, Kenwood Vineyards, Penner-Ash, Siduri, WillaKenzie Estate and Stagecoach Vineyard. Additionally, Zepponi & Company has advised some of the industry’s largest beverage alcohol companies, including Constellation Brands, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Diageo, Jackson Family Wines, F. Korbel & Bros. and King Estate. The firm has offices in Santa Rosa, California and Portland, Oregon. For more information, please visit www.zepponi.com.