photography: Riverbench Vineyard & Winery
The journey to discover the vineyards of California is an adventure: history, agriculture, sustainability, premiere grapes, and acres and acres of stunningly beautiful vineyards. And, more. The families that have put their life’s work into this land, ultimately, share the fruits of their labors, providing the finest of grapes and sought after wines.
At Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, with wine tasting rooms located in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, CA, the sense of the commitment and pride is seen in every process. It’s a welcoming place where visitors can appreciate the experience, the timelessness of the land, savoring the presence long past the time of the visit. General Manager Laura Booras, Winemaker Clarissa Nagy, Vineyard Manager Rawley Hermreck and the rest of the team at Riverbench, work together to make Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and sparkling wines. The Riverbench Winery has a rich agricultural tie to the land including a certification with the authoritative sustainability organization, SIP. http://riverbench.com/about-us/
History in CA – planted on the Santa Maria Bench
Riverbench vines are planted on the Santa Maria Bench, which is made up of alluvial soils. These soils are formed of sediment deposited by flowing water thousands of years ago, and contain particles of clay, silt, sand and gravel. They are extremely fertile because of their medium to fine textures; yet they are shallow in depth which allows for a great growing medium. The rocky benchland provides excellent drainage and in turn allows definitive growth without a large amount of outside input. Sandstone filled with fossils and remnants of ancient sea life, along with large rocks and river cobble, can be found all over the property, a reminder of the history of this ancient riverbed. The sustainably farmed vineyard sits on the bank of the Sisquoc River.
Sustainability guarantees highest quality grapes
Their goal remains to produce the highest quality grapes, resulting in superb wine quality. Riverbench is committed to sustainable winegrowing practices that are environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically feasible. Keeping these sustainable practices in mind, they not only produce a superior product, but are able to help protect the environment, conserve natural resources, maintain the long-term viability of the vineyard, and support the economic and social well-being of the employees.As proof of the commitment, Riverbench has been a SIP Certified vineyard since 2008. Tied closely to their vineyard acreage, there are also gardens set aside for their employees.
Portfolio of Wines
Situated on the southeastern edge of the Santa Maria Valley, the northernmost AVA in Santa Barbara County, the vineyard currently consists of 107 acres of Pinot Noir and 77 acres of Chardonnay. They continually evaluate the vines as they age, replanting as necessary. In 2008, they committed to the premium sparkling wine program. They place focus on making wines that are inspired by Champagne in France. In 2015, the Vineyard added the third great grape varietal famous in that area, Pinot Meunier, the sparkling wine blends begin in 2017. The boutique winery offerings include: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and sparkling wines.
Riverbench was recently featured in Wine Enthusiast Magazine: http://www.winemag.com/2016/12/15/santa-barbara-bubbling-withsparkling-wines/
The vineyard tasting room on the Foxen Wine Trail in the Santa Maria Valley has a VIP tasting area for wine club members, a large outdoor picnic area and often featured special events including local musicians and gourmet food trucks.
General Manager Laura Booras curates her own recipes for pairing with Riverbench wines. She also supports and encourages special food events and activities. For example, chefs from Los Angeles come to spend time on special holidays and create unique menus. http://riverbench.com/recipes/
Riverbench Wine Tasting Rooms
Santa Maria Tasting Room 6020 Foxen Canyon Road Santa Maria, CA 93454 (805) 937-8340
Santa Barbara Tasting Room 137 Anacapa St. Suite C Santa Barbara, CA 93101 (805) 324-4100
The Riverbench Wine Club invites visitors to become a part of the family by joining the wine club. Benefits include:
- Limited production wines delivered to your door three times annually.
- Complimentary tastings for up to four people in the tasting room
- Access to members-only areas, including the VIP wine room.
- Select member discounts on wines and merchandise.
- Exclusive club member events and specials. http://riverbench.com/wine-club/