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Ponzi Vineyards appoints former Newton Vineyard CEO

The former CEO of Napa’s Newton Vineyard, Jean-Baptiste Rivail, has taken up the role of executive vice president of Société Jacques Bollinger (SJB) USA and CEO of the group’s newly-acquired Ponzi Vineyards in Oregon.

Jean-Baptiste Rivail has moved from one Champagne-backed US wine business to another

Rivail, who started his role with the Bollinger family holding group yesterday, has deep family roots in the drinks industry dating back to the 1800s, when his family started as wine merchants in France.

After leading international sales for Champagne Vranken-Pommery, Rivail was hired by Moet-Hennessy and the LVMH group to steer international developments for Hennessy Cognac across the Americas. He most recently held the position of general manager for the group’s Newton Vineyards in Napa Valley.

As the first non-family member to serve as CEO of Ponzi Vineyards, Rivail will work with head winemaker Luisa Ponzi, and the Ponzi family at large, who retain 100 acres of local vineyards for growing and selling grapes to Ponzi Vineyards under long-term contract.

The Bollinger family, owners of Champagne Bollinger in addition to four other estates in France (Chanson Père & Fils in Burgundy, Langlois-Chateau in the Loire Valley, Ayala in Champagne and Delamain in Cognac), completed the acquisition of Ponzi in May 2021, with Rivail officially assuming his position yesterday.

In addition to his responsibilities at Ponzi Vineyards, Rivail has also been appointed executive vice president SJB USA. In this role, Rivail will lead development of the group’s French wine brands in the US: Champagne Bollinger, Champagne Ayala, Domaine Chanson, and Langlois-Chateau.

Bollinger chairman and CEO Etienne Bizot said: “We are thrilled to bring the talents of Jean-Baptiste Rivail to Ponzi vineyards (our new acquisition in Oregon) and to the Bollinger group. His great knowledge of the US market and his proven experience in running a successful winery will be a great asset to lead Ponzi Vineyards and to support the development of our other brands.”

Commenting on his new role, Rivail said, “It is an honour that the Bollinger and Ponzi families have placed their confidence in me as we begin this new chapter for Ponzi Vineyards.”

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