US (CA): Winery uses flowers instead of grapes

It's time to polish up your daisy chain skills, pack some tea cakes in a picnic basket, and head to the park: This spring, you are going to start drinking flower wine. Out in California, Aaliyah Nitoto, founder of Free Range Flower Winery, is celebrating traditional methods of making wine using flowers like roses, chrysanthemums, lavender, and hibiscus.

During college, Nitoto became interested in winemaking and herbalism and discovered she could make wine out of her favorite flowers, first experimenting with lavender wine. "The process for making wine from flowers is very similar to making wine with grapes," Nitoto told Tasting Table. "It's just the beginning that's different. Flowers get macerated and either hot or cold purified water get added to extract the flowers' essences. After that a carbohydrate is added for the yeast to consume. At this point I treat this just like juice. I check the pH, the bricks, and total acidity. The rest of the process is identical to making wine with grapes."

Though flower wines such as dandelion wine or chrysanthemum wine have a long history in the U.S. and a longer history in East Asian countries like China, they have fallen into the backlogs of history. This is primarily because they were traditionally made locally by lower-income women, so they lacked the prestige of upmarket grape wines popular in Europe.


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