Wine Time – Freeman Winery

Remember the year 1985 and a hurricane named Gloria that struck the east coast?  More on that in a bit…

Now journey to Sebastopol, California, smack in the middle of one of the world’s best Pinot Noir growing regions.  This finicky varietal loves these parts, which brings us to…

Owners Ken and Akiko Freeman founded the winery in 2001 after an extensive vineyard search.  They targeted cool hillside properties that would promote the purity of character they were seeking to imbue in their wines.  The hillside property at the western edge of the Russian River Valley AVA fit the bill.

Akiko took the winemaking reins under the tutelage of esteemed winemaker Ed Kurtzman and today is crafting the style of wines the Freemans had envisioned from the outset.  Refined and balanced, these are graceful wines that flow wonderfully on the palate.  Current production is in the 4500-case range, which allows the attention to detail that Akiko applies to her craft.
Winemaker Akiko Freeman with the author.
Three vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs are currently made from Keefer Ranch in Green Valley, the Yu-ki Estate vineyard near the coast, and the Gloria Estate vineyard (remember the hurricane?) at the winery.  You will also find a Russian River Valley Pinot, a Sonoma Coast Pinot and the splendid Akiko’s Cuvée. 
Do I have a favorite?  All of the Pinots are certainly finely crafted and represent the terroir of their vineyards.  However, I must confess a leaning to the Gloria Estate bottling.  This 8-acre vineyard, formerly an apple orchard, was planted to Swan, Calera, Martini, Pommard and Dijon115 clones.  A lot of thought and spirit went into the makeup of this vineyard, and it carries over into the glass.  This is Akiko Freeman’s flagship effort...!

For Chardonnay fans, the Ryo-fu (cool breeze) is made with the same style and care as the Pinot lineup.  Sourced primarily from Keefer Ranch and Heintz Ranch vineyards, this is an excellent wine.

 A visit to Freeman Winery yields a relaxed and intimate experience.  The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the wines are impressive.

As for that hurricane…
Turns out that mother nature introduced Ken and Akiko in 1985.  A chance encounter brought about by the weather, that yielded an excellent winemaking adventure.  Who would have known...?
Grace in a glass – highly recommended…!


Marty Feldmann, The Connoisseur, is the highly sought after consultant who assists businesses and individual clients with the acquisition of the finer things life has to offer.  Whether you are planning a weekend getaway to wine country, selecting audio equipment to outfit your home, planning your dream vacation or purchasing your ultimate transportation, Marty is your personal connection to the good life…
Marty can be contacted at:   916.952.9529    Marty@ConnoisseurCorner.com