Anna Clifford

Anna Clifford

Nielson Wines (Winemaker)

Anna Clifford grew up in Thousand Islands, California, the daughter of Irish and Guatemalan parents. She had little experience with wine, her only exposure to it was at church. Surprisingly, a film, French Kiss, that highlighted wine’s ability to capture a moment in time and the tendency of grapevines to grow in beautiful areas, captured her attention—when she was 13—and started her odyssey to becoming a winemaker.

Given her interest in wine, Anna’s parents took her to vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley and encouraged her to enroll at the University of California, Davis, where she earned a B.S. in Viticulture & Enology in 2002. She embarked on a decade-long series of positions in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, primarily participating in the crafting of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay at wineries such as William Hill (2004–2007), Atlas Peak (2004–2008), and Buena Vista (2008–2011). Working a harvest in the Central Otago region of New Zealand exposed Anna to Pinot Noir and sparked her interest in this varietal.

In early 2012, Anna was named winemaker at a crush pad, Terravant Wine Company, in the Central Coast town of Buellton. There, she oversaw all aspects of the production of a number of different varietals and honed her leadership skills. She was promoted to Director of Winemaking in early 2015 and to Vice President of Winemaking and Production in late 2016.

Anna moved to Nielson Wines in mid-2018 and was appointed its winemaker in 2020. Nielson, a brand of Jackson Family Wines, is located in Santa Maria, where she is crafting Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Viognier. She also produces several varietals, including Dolcetto, Petit Verdot, and Chenin Blanc under her own label, Final Girl Wines, which she founded in 2015. As if this were not enough, she is also facility winemaker at Jackson Family’s Cambria Estate Winery, also located in Santa Maria.

Anna, her husband, and son live in Los Olivos.