Jill DelaRiva Russell
Cambria Winery, a seminal winery of Santa Maria Valley known for its site-specific Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the renowned Katherine’s and Julia’s Vineyards, today announced the appointment of Jill DelaRiva Russell to the position of winemaker. Russell will oversee all aspects of winemaking at Cambria, which is known for crafting 100 percent estate-grown and bottled wines from certified sustainable vineyards on the Santa Maria Bench. Veteran Cambria Winemaker Denise Shurtleff has been promoted to the role
of winery general manager.
A passionate advocate for the wines of Santa Maria Valley, Russell will direct the winemaking expression of two of the most esteemed vineyards in Santa Barbara County. Named after second generation proprietors Katie and Julia Jackson, Katherine’s and Julia’s vineyards sit at 500 feet above sea level and produce highly prized, distinctive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from a variety of singular vineyard blocks. The addition of Russell continues Cambria’s dedication to honoring the community and celebrating exceptional women, both in the wine industry and beyond.
“Jill is a very talented winemaker who understands and adheres to the philosophy that it all begins in the vineyard,” said Mitch Davis, senior vice president of winery operations for Jackson Family Wines. “She brings a very hands-on approach and a dedication to crafting textural wines that reflect the varietal characteristics of the grapes and the place where they were grown, resulting in the purest expression of place. We’re so pleased to add her thoughtfulness and enthusiasm to the Cambria team, and think she is perfectly suited to craft the next iteration of estate wines from Cambria on the Santa Maria Bench.”
Russell developed her winemaking and regional expertise as assistant winemaker at Stephen Ross Wine Cellars in San Luis Obispo, followed by a harvest with Domaine Henry Pelle in Morogues, France. She returned to California in 2015 and served as assistant winemaker at Paul Lato Wines, focusing on Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley and St. Rita Hills. A longtime San Luis Obispo resident, Russell has a bachelor’s degree in wine and viticulture from California Polytechnic State University.
“Cambria played an integral role in establishing the Santa Maria Valley as a premier wine region, and I’m honored to be able to continue the tradition of world-class, cool-climate winemaking that showcases the special nuances of this estate,” said Russell. “With harvest coming up, I look forward to working closely with the established team on site, learning the intricacies of the vineyards, and of course adding my own expression to the wines.” In her role as winery general manager, Shurtleff will apply her nearly two decades of experience across all aspects of Cambria’s production. “I look forward to this next chapter where I’ll be able to dedicate myself to furthering the growth of the winery,” said Shurtleff. “These are exciting times, and I’m thrilled to be able to welcome Jill to the team, and for her to build on the winemaking tradition here at Cambria.”