A Day at Riverbench Winery

Meet Laura Booras and Clarissa Nagy, General Manger and Winemaker, respectively, of Riverbench Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. Featured in Chico’s September mailer, they shared a day in their lives with Inside Chic.

Laura Booras: I absolutely love fall at Riverbench because the vines change color and the sunsets are just gorgeous. It’s a beautiful time in the vineyard, too, because it’s harvest! I love meeting the harvest crews and tasting grapes with Clarissa.

Clarissa Nagy: During harvest I start the day meeting with the crew. Then it’s off to the winery to process the fruit and check on the lots in house. I run sugars and temperatures to track fermentation. I smell each tank and barrel every day. Once the fruit comes in, I look forward to the smell of fermentation in the winery. It is such an amazing experience. If you haven’t yet visited a winery during harvest, I highly recommend it.

Laura: An average day for me might include walking vineyard rows, delivering cases of wine, hosting a wine writer, or doing paperwork. I need to have clothing that is versatile and easy to clean. Inevitably on the days I wear heels I end up needing to be in the vineyard, that’s just the way it goes. But I’m most comfortable in jeans, cowboy boots, and a light jacket.

 Clarissa: Even when I am working hard, I still like to look my best. I’m often in jeans just for the ease of carrying case boxes or lifting cellar hoses. A scarf and jewelry are always within reach to grab before a last minute tour or meeting. I do wear dresses and skirts, but not usually during harvest. However, I have been known to jump on the forklift to unload a truck in my skirt and boots when duty calls!

Laura: You can never know everything about wine. Winemaking styles, viticulture, grapes, and land; these things are different from wine to wine. You can learn themes and typicity, but there is always something that might throw you off and make you think.

Clarissa: Riverbench is planted on an ancient riverbed. There are portions that are sandy and portions that have clay. The sand provides good drainage for the vines and a silky tannin structure in the wines. The clay contributes to a darker color and more dense flavors.

Laura: I always end the day with a glass of something delicious and inspiring, and a good talk to get things off my chest.

Clarissa: What I love most about wine is that it is a living, breathing substance. Each wine has its own personality and character. It’s my job to draw it out for all to experience.

Laura and Clarissa are both wearing Effortless Cotton Soleil Shirts. For information on Riverbench and their wonderful wines visit their website here

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