Show 182, July 30, 2016: Clarissa Nagy, Winemaker – Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, Santa Maria & Proprietress/Winemaker of c nagy

Clarissa NagySince 2012 Clarissa Nagy has been the Winemaker at Santa Maria’s Riverbench Vineyard & Winery. Riverbench Vineyard was established in 1973 when its first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on the property.

Clarissa also has her own label, c nagy, with a rustic tasting room in Orcutt. Her first release was in 2005. Clarissa uncorks it for us.

Situated on the southeastern edge of the Santa Maria Valley, the northernmost AVA in Santa Barbara County, the Riverbench vineyard currently consists of 107 acres of Pinot Noir and 77 acres of Chardonnay. In 2008, Riverbench committed themselves to a premium sparkling wine program.

Riverbench continues to work hard making wines that are inspired by Champagne in France. In 2015, they added the third great grape varietal famous in that area, Pinot Meunier, to the Riverbench vineyard. They anticipate incorporating these grapes into their sparkling wine blends beginning in 2017.

Clarissa fell in love with the aromas of Pinot Noir when she started working with wine in 1995. She received a Bachelor of Science in Food Science from California Polytechnic State University, and began her career as a Lab Technician at Edna Valley Vineyards. From there she moved through the roles of Research Assistant Winemaker at Byron Winery, Assistant Winemaker and Vineyard Supervisor at Longoria Winery, and winemaker for Bonaccorsi Wine Company since 2006.

Clarissa is known for her elegant and sophisticated winemaking style, and for her appreciation for fruit that comes from the Santa Maria Valley. She continues to refine Riverbench wines each vintage, and adds her own unique twists to their portfolio.

Show 143, October 24, 2015: 5th Annual Garagiste Wine Festival, Paso Robles, CA

Garagiste FestivalThe 5th Annual Garagiste Wine Festival returns to Paso Robles from November 5th to 8th. The Garagiste Wine Festivals are the first and only wine festivals dedicated to the undiscovered and under-recognized American artisan “garagiste” producers who are making some of the best, most exciting, handcrafted small-lot production wines in the world.

It’s three days of fun and educational wine-centric events in a superb wine region. No wine snobbery here.

“We founded The Garagiste Festivals five years ago to gather and bring attention to, the growing but under-the-radar population of micro-production winemakers who we knew were making some of the most exciting, cutting-edge wines in the world,” said Doug Minnick, Co-founder of The Garagiste Festival. “As our Festivals have grown and expanded, they have helped spur the growth of our participating wineries, as well as of the Garagiste movement itself. It has been a true win-win-win: matching consumers with the hard-to-find artists they enjoy discovering, helping garagiste wineries find a highly targeted and self-selected audience, and all in support of our work with Cal Poly.”

The festivals (3 per year) are produced by Garagiste Events, a non-profit dedicated to furthering the education of future winemakers and those training for employment within the wine industry. Proceeds from the festivals support the Garagiste Festival Scholarship fund of the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo Wine and Viticulture Department.

Co-Founder Doug Minnick joins us with the preview.