Japanese sensibility meets historic Sonoma Coast vineyards

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In celebration of Freeman Vineyards and Winery opening the doors of their wine tasting cave to the public, we invite you to become acquainted with this boutique winery nestled into a hillside outside Sebastopol, California. Their intimate approach to hospitality, along with their expertise in crafting refined, cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, offers guests an unparalleled wine experience when touring the highly-acclaimed Sonoma Coast wine region.

Ken Freeman met Akiko at a keg party in New York back in 1985, and they were drawn together by their mutual passion for Burgundian-style wines. After a 4-year stint working together in Asia with the Discovery Channel, the couple changed gears from broadcast media to making wine. Akiko, now-Winemaker and a Tokyo native, grew up with a wine enthusiast father who shared his love for wine. The couple moved back to San Francisco where they first experienced the complex wines of the Russian River and Sonoma Coast, which mimic the unique micro-climates of their beloved Burgundy, and the search was on for their new winery home.

Ken and Akiko knew they wanted to produce wines with elegance and balance, so choosing the correct estate vineyard site to achieve this mission would be crucial. Thanks to the Pacific coastline’s influence with the steep hillsides, fog-shrouded valleys and crisp ocean winds – a perfect combination to force the grapes into ripeness—it quickly became apparent that Sonoma County was the ideal destination.

In 2001, the couple acquired a timeworn winery which they began to fix up.  In 2006 they acquired the adjacent apple orchid and planted the exceptional: Gloria Estate Vineyard, in the Russian River Valley AVA; in 2007 they were able to purchase the Montafi Ranch 1,000 feet above the town of Occidental and plant the Yu-ki Vineyard, closer to the Pacific with a Sonoma Coast designation.

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Today, Freeman stands out from other wineries in the area thanks to its unique style, which is a combination of Akiko’s innate Japanese aesthetic and sensibility for the simple when making wine, coupled with superb fruit from pedigreed vineyards. And that’s not just us claiming this—the winery consistently receives world-wide acclaim for their wines, having been recently served at a White House State Dinner for the Prime Minister of Japan.

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The winery offers a private cave tasting featuring one Chardonnay and three Pinot Noir wines. Don’t forget your sweater, it’s chilly in there! Always in the pursuit of excellence, Akiko skillfully manages to showcase the fruit’s character in each bottling while presenting her wines in a warm and gracious manner synonymous with Japanese tradition.

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Cave Tasting at Freeman Vineyard & Winery – in Sebastopol, CA
$30 per person – 60 minutes
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Louise Veron – louise@vinovisit.com
Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at VinoVisit.com

Originally from Bordeaux (France), I moved to the Napa Valley to work for VinoVisit.com in 2015. I just finished my trilingual Master’s degree in Wine Tourism and International Marketing and graduated with honors. As a real food and wine lover, I’m enjoying exploring the area and relating my discoveries from a very French point of view.


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