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.