The Santa Maria Valley is home to the Goddess of Winemaking


By Donna Polizzi

 The Santa Maria Valley is surrounded by wildflower-covered mountains, in the heart of the California Central Coast. There is no better place to get away, any day of the week. Santa Maria is a family-friendly city, with everything you need, for a fun-filled vacation destination. Santa Maria and neighboring Old Orcutt are highly recommended by, as a favorite Central Coast destination to stay and play.

Did you know that Santa Maria is one of the top wine regions, in the world? As one of six federally recognized American Viticulture Areas in Santa Barbara County, you can count on exceptional wines.

One of the great features of Santa Barbara County is the numerous impressive, award-winning wineries and tasting rooms. In Santa Maria Valley, there are a whopping 34 tasting rooms.

One of our favorite winemakers is the well-regarded Clarissa Nagy. She has been called “the Goddess of winemakers”, and she lives up to the reputation. Clarissa has 20-plus years of experience and has honed her craft. It is important to note, that she is also a delightful person.

Clarissa has been the winemaker for Riverbench Winery since 2011. Riverbench Winery in Santa Maria is impressive in every way. The wine is exceptional and so are their sparkling wines. You won’t find a nicer setting. The grounds have several places to Riverbench Winery, santa maria valley, caenjoy friends or plan a picnic. The beauty is breathtaking. Sip your wine, surrounded by colorful vineyards, a stunning mountain range, and roses. Riverbench focuses on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals.

“Our wines are made to showcase our vineyard, which is a perfect place to grow grapes,” said Laura Boora, General Manager at Riverbench. “The Santa Maria Valley is an exceptional place to make wine.”

Clarissa also has a tasting room, appropriately called the CNagy Tasting Room, located at 145 S. Gray Street, Suite 103 in Old Orcutt.

The tasting room is open from Wednesday through Saturday or Monday and Tuesday by appointment.

Take a road trip on the backroads of Santa Santa Maira Valley, caIf you are looking for a friendly city with affordable prices, in close proximity to great wineries, golf courses, beaches, and museums, with a variety of restaurants and parks, Santa Maria Valley has something for everyone. Plan your getaway today.

For more great places to visit in the Santa Maria Valley  

(Keys 2 The Coast is a Travel Resource for San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Monterey Counties. Donna Polizzi is a Regional Travel Expert and Founder of, offering honest recommendations on the “Best Places to Wine, Dine, Explore and More!”) Visit Keys2theCoast.Com or Facebook Keys2TheCoast.)