Claudio Ponte

Claudio’s only real qualification as a wine “expert” is that he knows what he likes. Claudio started drinking water-diluted red wine as a child, enjoyed an occasional glass at important celebrations while growing up (where wine was always on the table), graduated to Mateus rose as a freshman in college, moved to woody California Chardonnays, then to big reds… and ultimately ended up managing a winery, the ultimate wine lover’s job.

He has been exposed to every type of snobbery and fraudulent misrepresentation related to wine. He has wrinkled his nose at some of the best Bordeaux has to offer, has marveled at the smells of 100 year old Madeira, has taken 5 aspirins (it did not help) after participating in a monster vertical tasting with friendly grape growers, and has now settled in his middle years to enjoy what most would call “drinkable” wines.

Other than having a fairly adventurous bent when it comes to wine varieties, his taste is fairly unsophisticated, and he’s quick to admit he could never make a living with his palate. Claudio dislikes overpaying for wine, especially at restaurants, and his legendary stinginess gets him the wine list every time, no matter who’s treating. Looking for value he’ll always pick the odd red, or the weird white or (blushing…) a dry rose. Other than Ponte wines, he drinks Malbecs, Tempranillos and Torrontes and is patiently waiting for the Ponte Arneis vines to “grow up” to add to his list.

He’s slowly “working” though other wine regions worldwide looking for new wines to like and for new food experiences. He believes that wine and food are best enjoyed where they are produced.

Erica Martinez

Erica Martinez is a Southern California native who now resides near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She formally worked for Ponte for 4 years before moving on the east coast where she was the online copywriter for GNC for 3 years. Now a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom to her new son, Henry, Erica still feels at home writing for Ponte. She is a lover of wine, food and shopping (in farmer’s markets) and enjoys sharing her cooking experiences in her new city, which even after almost 5 years, sometimes still feels unfamiliar (she is still adjusting to the fact that farmer’s markets close in winter). Erica truly believes that food and wine go beyond creating a meal, and can, rather, create an entire experience. She is thrilled to share these experiences on the Ponte Blog.