The Palmina Blog

Steve Clifton
Steve Clifton
December 10, 2019 | Steve Clifton

Celebrating our 25th Harvest

I can still feel the excitement that overcame me the day I picked up the grapes that would ultimately be first Palmina wine. It was 1995 and I was able to purchase a small amount of Sangiovese from the Santa Barbara grape pioneer Joe Carrari! I drove my old Ford pickup to Los Alamos to meet Joe at his staging “yard” and took possession of 1 full ton of sangiovese grapes. Joe handed me a shovel and I transferred the fruit to two 500 liter barrels that I had converted into fermenters. When I got them home, I shoveled them one more time into the vessels I had prepared in my basement. I was underwhelmed with the color of the juice and thankfully, was able to purchase some merlot from Rancho Sisquoc Vineyard to bolster the concentration. Now, having just completed the 25th harvest for Palmina, I opened a bottle of that very first wine with some dear friends. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised and full of immense gratitude with how well that first vintage showed.

So many things have happened over these past 25 years. One of my greatest sources of pride was growing Palmina and Brewer-Clifton side by side for 20 years. Winemaking has allowed such an incredibly full life of adventure and experiences. Through this profession, I have been able to travel around the world selling wine in Japan, Canada, throughout Europe and of course in many States. I’ve had the opportunity to work on wine projects in Italy, Argentina, Washington State and throughout California. I feel so blessed to have found something that I love so much and to be able to call it “work”. The “wine community” has been truly amazing! I have made such
wonderful friends and have worked with so many inspiring colleagues. It’s strange how small the world becomes when you share a passion with people around the globe. Through the years we have welcomed interns from Italy, Argentina, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico and Washington. I hold each of those unique experiences and friendships so close and so dear.

Another incredible part of the journey has been to have the privilege to work with such an enlightening cast of staff over the years. So many fantastic individuals have given so much of themselves to this endeavor. Palmina has always felt like a true family atmosphere. I can’t begin to express the immense gratitude I feel toward all these amazing people who have given so much of themselves to Palmina. From those in the cellar, vineyards, tasting room, office and on the road for sales, each person has left a lasting mark on this dream come true.

But, none of it would be possible without all of you! I am so deeply grateful to all of you that have remained so loyal as part of the Palmina family. We’ve made so many wonderful friends over the years, had so many parties, and enjoyed lots of food and wine together! And, we are excited to continue those traditions! This next year we are intent on expanding our tasting opportunities and having some fun and exciting new events to share with all of you!

We hope you enjoy this season’s recipes and these newly released wines. We wish you a very Happy Holiday Season and would love to help with any holiday wine needs you might have. Please check out our great gift package ideas and take advantage of our holiday shipping specials. We look forward to seeing you over the Holiday Season and in the coming New Year. We send all of our best wishes to you and your families and want to express our sincere gratitude for being part of ours.

Tanti Auguri!

Steve Clifton

Time Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 1:40 PM Permalink to Celebrating our 25th Harvest Permalink
Steve Clifton
May 9, 2017 | Steve Clifton

Food & Wine Pairing of the Month

Grilled Lambchops with Fennel & Radicchio



1 - 1 1/2 lbs lamb chops, cleaned and portioned
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup Palmina Nebbiolo Rocca
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons aged balsamic
2 fennel bulbs, stalk removed and into 1/4” pieces but with the bulb end still attached
1 head radicchio, cut into 1/4” pieces with bottom still attached so it is easy to flip
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons honey



Place 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, wine, vinegar, and oregano in a large Ziploc bag or bowl. Mix Well. Add lamb chops to marinade for 30-60 minutes.
Place the radicchio and fennel pieces in a large Ziploc bag and toss with honey and remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil.
Heat grill and place the lamb, fennel and radicchio on grill. Grill the lamb until medium rare, about 5-7 minutes each side.
Grill the fennel and radicchio on both until the radicchio is slightly wilted and the fennel is softened. Remove from the grill. Chop the fennel and radicchio and toss with balsamic vinegar.
Serve the lamb on top of the chopped grilled veggie salad.

Enjoy with a glass of Palmina Nebbiolo Rocca! 

Time Posted: May 9, 2017 at 12:30 PM Permalink to Food & Wine Pairing of the Month Permalink
Steve Clifton
November 8, 2016 | Steve Clifton

Feeling Thankful



Post-Harvest Greetings!

Harvest this year was the best we have seen in at least the last 5 to 6 years! Beautiful fruit! All of the amazing reasons that brought me to Santa Barbara County to make wine were in full bloom and easily identifiable. Cold nights and moderate days allowed the fruit to retain its own marvelous acidity, the hallmark of our region. Our new production facility was put to its first real test and performed admirably! Efficiency and proximity allowed for one of the most focused and successful harvests I have ever been involved in. A big salute is in order for our Assistant Winemaker Javier Franco for organizing and executing a fantastic vintage in a brand new facility.

As we lovingly labored through a constant barrage of grapes, inspiration came in the news that our Vermentino was to be served at the final State Dinner at the White House for the current administration. It has been an immense honor for Palmina to “bookend” this administration by being used as a gift in 2009 to then Italian President Napolitano at President Obama’s first G8 summit in Rome, and then again at the final State Dinner for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in October.

But alas, now our attention turns again to one of our favorite times of the year! With the Holidays coming fast, it is time for… NEBBIOLO!!!

We will be celebrating our favorite grape over the month of November with the release of our 2009 vintage of Vineyard Designates. Please stop by to try the incredible variety of flavors and aromas this wine provides.

With Halloween behind us, it is time for that most American of holidays, Thanksgiving! It is our sincere desire that this year you celebrate this most indigenous celebration with indigenous food and wine.  And nothing goes better with turkey than Nebbiolo!  We have whites to start your celebration, Rosé to continue and Nebbiolo to serve alongside your main course.

As always, we are humbled by your continued support and look forward to seeing you over the holidays! I’ll be making pizza at our Red, White and Green Party on December 17th, and would love to see you there.

All our best to you and your family and friends over this Holiday Season!




Steve Clifton

Time Posted: Nov 8, 2016 at 12:32 PM Permalink to Feeling Thankful Permalink