Chrystal & Steve


Fran CollinSteve Clifton, winemaker and owner, produced the first Palmina wines in the basement of his home in 1995. Steve's appreciation for Italian wines began while working in Italian restaurants. His career in the wine industry had begun in 1991 when he left his previous incarnations as a musician and nightclub entrepreneur behind and decided to beg his way into a tasting room position at Rancho Sisquoc winery. Little by little he worked his way into the cellar and in time became the Assistant Winemaker there.

Over the next few years Steve’s on the job schooling would include production and winemaking positions at Beckmen, Brander and Domaine Santa Barbara wineries. To round out his knowledge in the marketing and sales area of the industry, from 1995 to 1998, Steve managed The Wine Cask retail store in Santa Barbara. Steve met Greg Brewer in 1995 and formed the partnership that has become Brewer-Clifton, a winery solely devoted to vineyard-designated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Sta. Rita Hills appellation in western Santa Barbara County.

Chrystal (Seals) Clifton went to Italy to study film and communications for her college years abroad and fell in love with the entire culture of wine and food. Studying at the University of Bologna, she returned to the United States and the Santa Barbara area fluent in Italian, passionate about food and wine and with a yearning to return to Italy. With an idea of earning enough to do so, she immersed herself into the restaurant business, becoming a manager for bouchon, a Santa Barbara restaurant that focuses on local wines and seasonal foods. Chrystal also tuned her industry knowledge while serving as Assistant Sommelier at the Bacara Resort.

Realizing that the lifestyle she loved so much in Italy could be attained here, in 2000 Chrystal joined Palmina and became involved in all aspects of the growing business. With her language skills and background, Chrystal is invaluable in forging the relationships with wine producers in Italy which have supplied phenomenal insight in forming Palmina's philosophy and style.

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