Palmina’s philosophy, passion and strongly held belief is 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 (of La Voix Winery) in 1995, Palmina is named in honor of Steve’s great friend Paula. Like a grandmother to him, she taught Steve the love of cooking, wine, 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. First made in the basement of Steve’s home, the wines, crafted solely from Italian varieties, are now produced in the famed Lompoc “wine ghetto”.
Steve found that the climate and soil types in Santa Barbara County are similar to those in his favorite regions of Northern Italy, namely Piemonte and Friuli. All feature cold air pushing warm air to create growing conditions that provide enough sunlight to help fully develop fruit flavors. And all three regions enjoy cool night temperatures that maintain the grape’s natural acidity levels, which allows winemakers to create “food wines” with a balance of fruit, tannin and acid. Palmina wines are Italian by inspiration with flavors rooted in Santa Barbara County.
Palmina “pure farms” its 11 acres in Santa Barbara County. Pure farming gives back more than it takes. Unwavering in its farming standards, Palmina does not utilize herbicides or pesticides. Weed-clearing is done through laborious hand-hoeing, with critical soil nutrients reintroduced by planting organic legumes and grasses between the vines. With mindful intention, organic, sustainable and biodynamic practices are utilized.
About Steve Clifton: his appreciation for Italian wines began while working in Italian restaurants. His first wine job was in the tasting room at Rancho Sisquoc where he eventually graduated to the position of Assistant Winemaker. Over the next few years he held winemaking positions at Beckmen, Brander and Domaine Santa Barbara wineries, and managed from 1995 to 1998 the retail section of The Wine Cask in downtown Santa Barbara. He met Greg Brewer in 1995 and formed a partnership that became Brewer-Clifton, a winery solely devoted to vineyard-designated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Sta. Rita Hills appellation in western Santa Barbara County. In 2015, Steve decided to focus on Palmina and la Voix. Before wine, he had a successful career as a nightclub entrepreneur and in the music industry as a musician, singer, booking agent, and studio producer.