Willamette Valley Wines

by Eunice Fried

Aug 1, 2019
August 2019

THEY BELIEVED IT WAS a path to a bright future, pioneers who, some 50 years ago, moved to Oregon and planted Pinot Noir and other grape varietals not usually found in that state.

Never mind others told them those varietals were not meant for Oregon’s soil and climate, that they would never flourish in that northwestern state, that their idea was a cul-de-sac in failure. These early wine enthusiasts took no heed. They began to arrive in the 1960s. By the early 1970s, there were five established wineries in Oregon. Today the state boasts 700-plus wineries, and together they sell more than 3.5 million cases of wine a year.

Many came as families; others had children during their early years as vintners. Now the second generation runs a number of these pioneer family-owned wineries, among them Elk Cove, Ponzi and Sokol Blosser.

Pat and Joe Campbell began Elk Cove Vineyards in 1974. Now their daughter Anna is the winery’s creative director and their son Adam is the winemaker. Nancy and Dick Ponzi moved to Oregon in the late 1960s and began Ponzi Vineyards in 1970; their daughters now run the winery. Anna Maria Ponzi serves as president and director of sales, with Luisa Ponzi as the winemaker. Bill Blosser and Susan Sokol Blosser started their winery in 1971, now headed by their children, co-presidents Alison and Alex. All three wineries list among those founded in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

This second generation of winemakers call themselves, appropriately, the Second Generation Vintners. And to celebrate the importance to Oregon’s wine history of continuously family-owned and -operated wineries, the three joined together to create the Second Generation Vintners’ Oregon Originals Pinot Noir Cuvée, known for short as 2GV. The wine blends the grapes of all three wineries, each coming from a different kind of soil, each winery having made and aged its own wine and then contributed it to the final blend. This beautiful, rich, well-balanced, silky-textured wine offers forward fruit flavors and brims with the aromas and pleasures of a fine Pinot Noir ($100). Did someone say Oregon could not make fine Pinot Noir? Try 2GV.

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