Riverbench Vineyard and Winery Welcomes New Winemaker

Having worked in the wine industry for the past 17 years, Nagy has become known for her elegant and sophisticated winemaking style, and has an appreciation for fruit that comes out of the Santa Maria Valley.

“I am drawn to the attention to detail and quality at Riverbench — the vineyards are meticulously kept,” Nagy says. “Riverbench has the wonderful combination of vine age for the original plantings and clonal variations in the new plantings. I really enjoy seeing how each vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley is unique. I look forward to getting my hands on the fruit!”

Nagy follows in the footsteps of Chuck Ortman, a pioneer in the wine industry who announced his retirement at the end of the 2011 vintage. For the past six vintages, Ortman crafted stunning Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs for Riverbench.

Having received a degree in Food Science from California Polytechnic State University, Nagy began her career in the wine industry in 1994 as a lab technician at Edna Valley Vineyards in San Luis Obispo. She moved through the roles of research assistant winemaker at Byron Winery in Los Olivos; assistant winemaker and vineyard supervisor at Longoria Winery, also in Los Olivos; and has been making wine for Bonaccorsi Wine Company since 2006.

“We are truly thrilled about this evolution in winemaking for Riverbench,” says General Manager Laura Mohseni. “When it came to finding Chuck’s replacement, Clarissa was the natural choice. Her professional and approachable demeanor and stellar winemaking style will fit in perfectly here.”

Riverbench Vineyard was established in 1973, when its first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on the property. Over time Riverbench became a prominent name of high quality fruit in the Santa Maria Valley, with some of the most renowned wineries in Santa Barbara County purchasing the grapes for their own wine. In 2004, a group of local families purchased the property and decided to make their own wine under the Riverbench Winery label, with their initial harvest in 2006. The first vintage included both Estate and Reserve versions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. All Riverbench wines are made in limited quantities, and many are available exclusively through the tasting room.

For more information on Riverbench Vineyard and Winery, contact General Manager Laura Mohseni at 805.937.8340 or laura@riverbench.com.


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