Pink wine bottle and two glasses in a field of lavenders
Food - Drink
The California Winery That Ditches Grapes For Flowers
Aaliyah Nitoto, the founder of Free Range Flower Winery, is celebrating traditional methods of making wine using flowers like roses, chrysanthemums, lavender, and hibiscus.
Though flower wines have a long history, they became less popular over time because they lacked the prestige of upmarket grape wines popular in Europe.
As of May 2023, Free Range Flower Winery has produced wines made from lavender, marigold, rose, hibiscus, feijoa (pineapple guava flowers), red clover, and rose hips.
While a few other wineries make traditional flower wines, Nitoto isn't afraid to experiment. Many of her flavors are fresh takes on the drink, making an old tradition new again.
Nitoto has faced some pushback from the wine industry and faced struggles to legitimize her product, but she continues despite the criticism.
Nitoto says, "The [recent] opinion of people [...] doesn't stand up to the history of winemaking, which is thousands of years old, which does call this [product] wine."