From Russian River Valley
Ponzo Vineyard is located on the northernmost edge of the Russian River Valley appellation. It is situated on the slopes above the Russian River, south of the town of Healdsburg. Although this region is perhaps best known for pinot noir, experience has taught us that zinfandel can flourish here provided it is perfectly sited, as is the case with Ponzo Vineyard.
Vines Both Young & Old
This site is comprised primarily of zinfandel planted on fine sandy loam and well-drained gravelly soils. Two of the vineyard’s three blocks are considered young vines, as both were planted in the 1990’s. The third, which consists of zinfandel interplanted with petite sirah, was planted in 1952. It is this old vine block that we look to first when crafting our Ponzo Vineyard bottling.
A Unique Microclimate
Although it is less than eight miles from our Lytton Springs Estate, the morning fog moves in much earlier and burns off quite a bit later here. This pattern is the hallmark of the cool climate that is a distinguishing feature of the Russian River Valley appellation. However, Ponzo Vineyard is ideally situated within the far north and eastern part of the region. This area remains slightly warmer than the appellation as a whole, allowing zinfandel grapes to ripen fully and evenly.
A Family Tradition of Farming
Vineyard owner, Bob Ponzo, comes from a long line of farmers. His family has been tending vineyards in northern California since pre-Prohibition days. In fact, Ridge first purchased grapes from Bob’s cousin, Phil Ponzo, in the early 1990’s to create a wine we called Sonoma Station. Thus, our current relationship with Bob was born of our earlier partnership with his cousin. In 2002, we produced our first vintage of Ponzo Vineyard.
A Wine of Distinction
Ponzo would be unique if only for the fact that it is our sole property within the Russian River Valley appellation. But, we have chosen this place with quality and character in mind. Ponzo Vineyard shows distinctive tart plum, raspberry, and blueberry fruit along with the bright acidity that only this cool climate site can produce. It is a wine with an individual identity, separate and apart from our other single-vineyard zinfandels, yet sharing with them a vivacity and complexity that endures.