For six vintages, Chuck Ortman, a pioneer in the wine industry, crafted stunning Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs for us. Chuck, a veteran of California winemaking, announced his retirement at the end of the 2011 vintage. We will certainly miss this amazing man, who has been such a huge part of Riverbench for so long. Luckily, Chuck has promised to stay in touch and visit us in the tasting room now and then!
In 2012, Riverbench introduced new Winemaker Clarissa Nagy. Clarissa received a Bachelor of Science in Food Science from California Polytechnic State University, and started in the wine industry in 1995. She began her career as a Lab Technician at Edna Valley Vineyards, and moved through the roles of Research Assistant Winemaker at Byron Winery, Assistant Winemaker and Vineyard Supervisor at Longoria Winery, and most recently, she has been making wine 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 will continue to refine the Riverbench style of winemaking, and add her own unique twists to our portfolio. She lives in Orcutt with her husband, Jonathan, and their daughter, Gabriella.