Posh French Winemakers Pounce on Big American Vineyard Selloff
On a weekend afternoon, Etienne Bizot, the head of Bollinger Champagne, was sipping wine on the terrace at Oregon’s Ponzi Vineyards. He was on vacation, playing tourist in the Willamette Valley, the heart of the state’s pinot noir territory. As he compared three different Ponzi pinots alongside a plate of cheese, he gazed out at the vines. They looked splendid.
That was two years ago. This month he bought Ponzi, the first acquisition outside France for his family holding company, Société Jacques Bollinger. Bizot is chairman and chief executive officer.
And the Ponzi family, one of Oregon’s founding pioneers 50 years ago, became the latest Americans to sell off an historic wine estate.
This high-profile deal is part of a new wave of