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
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.