• “Without a doubt, Steve Clifton is producing some of the finest examples of Italian variety wines in California. While I think you get the most bang for the buck from Steve’s more inexpensive whites and reds, his upper-tier Nebbiolos and blends certainly have unique characters and offer high quality.” (Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate)
  • “Palmina’s white wines stand alone as California’s most brilliant examples of Italian-inspired dry whites. What proprietors Chrystal and Steve Clifton have achieved with these efforts is amazing… Steve Clifton’s ‘Italian Stallion’ operation in southern California is the best of its kind in the United States… His excellent whites are all stainless steel fermented and really do capture much of the character that comes from the region most commonly associated with these wines, northeastern Italy… If you haven’t yet discovered Palmina, these are very impressive Italian-inspired wines from one of California’s most brilliant winemakers.” (Robert Parker)

Basic Info

Palmina is more than a winery. It is a philosophy, a passion and a strongly held belief that wine is an extension of the plate, a component of a meal and a means to bring people together. Formed by winemaker Steve Clifton in 1995, Palmina is named in honor of Steve’s great friend Paula. Like a grandmother to him, she taught Steve to love cooking, wine and the Italian lifestyle and was a spark in his life. After Paula succumbed to breast cancer, Steve found that her given name on her Italian birth certificate was Palmina, and the winery was thus fittingly named. Serendipity intervened in 2000 when Steve became more in contact with Italian winemaker mentors and needed to find someone who spoke Italian. He was advised a manager at a local restaurant was fluent and was introduced to Chrystal Seals, who not only provided the needed translation but shared his passion for wine and food and all things Italian. Chrystal soon became involved in all aspects of Palmina. They were married in Friuli, Italy in the spring of 2004. Today, Palmina produces a full range of wines crafted from Italian varietals grown in Santa Barbara County, California. Palmina is not trying to emulate the Italian versions of those wines, but rather translate the history of those grapes to the growing conditions and vineyard sites of the very unique characteristics of Santa Barbara County. The wines are Italian by inspiration with flavors rooted in Santa Barbara, and all are intended to be a delicious component of a meal. Palmina wines can be found in restaurants and bottle shops throughout the United States, Canada and Japan as well as directly from the winery, and can be tasted at the tasting room in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto. Upon release, each wine includes a recipe that Steve and Chrystal create, prepare, taste and love with the season and the wine.

Central Coast
Sub region:
Santa Barbara
Year founded:
Steve Clifton
Steve Clifton