L-R: Free Range Flower Winery selection and Aaliyah Nitoto at Free Range Flower Winery / Photos by Aaliyah Nitoto and Sam Prestianni
Aaliyah Nitoto, winemaker at Free Range Flower Winery, is tired of hearing that the category of wine is exclusive to grapes. For centuries, wine has been made from many kinds of plant products, she says, like grapes, apples, pears, rice and flowers.
Nitoto is one of several forward-thinking wine professionals eager to celebrate the bounty of wines made from lavender, dandelions, chrysanthemums and other flowers.
The History of Flower Wine Around the World
Flower wine has a deep global history throughout the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the United States.
In China, chrysanthemum wine became popular at least as far back as 247–195 B.C.E. (Han Dynasty), when it would be imbibed every ninth day of the ninth lunar month for protection. Today, people continue to drink the historic beverage during The Double Ninth Festival, which originated in 475–221 B.C.E.
Historically the festival was originally meant to give respect to elders; today it largely focuses on health and is celebrated by spending time in nature before the start of winter, and utilizing chrysanthemums, which are believed to have beneficial health qualities.