Freedom Winemakers
Food & Drink

Tiny Local Winery Goes Pro

Freedom Wineworks started as a hobby, but is ready for bigger things

FREEDOM FERMENTED Randall and LaRae West started Freedom Wineworks in their garage. PHOTO: CHIP SCHEUER

Freedom Wineworks is not about the “winery experience.” Not only do they do tastings by appointment only, but should you arrange one, you will also find yourself in what owners Randall and LaRae West claim is the smallest winery in the state. Now, after making wine as a hobby there for years, they’re turning pro, and ready for big things. Randall gave us the scoop on this teeny-tiny local winery.

So do you really have California’s smallest winery?

RANDALL WEST: Yeah, that’s what I understand. It’s not exactly an official designation. I just realized it after researching other wineries in California. I found one winery back east that said they were the smallest winery in the country. Our building is a few feet bigger than their building. Our building is 320 square feet. It’s 16 feet by 20 feet. I didn’t know if there were certain requirements that the building would have to be a certain size, but apparently there isn’t. We started making wine many years ago, as a hobby in our garage. When we moved to Freedom, we had this extra building, which used to be a detached garage. It’s pretty fun. It’s near our house. We don’t have any big equipment like other wineries. We only use the half-barrel size so that we can still have multiple varieties of wines in production.

Why do you require an appointment for doing a tasting?  

We don’t have a separate tasting room. We basically don’t have a tasting room, but we can do business as far as selling wine in the winery. Up till now it’s been a hobby, for our friends to come over and taste wine. Going forward, we can host people there, potential customers, tasters. Realistically, we will be doing tastings at other places. The winery is in a residential property. I would imagine stores, restaurants or festival-type events is where we’ll be offering tastings.

What kind of wines do you do?

We are partnered with a farmer in the Corralitos area that is growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Those will be our first 2016 vintages. Aside from that, we’ve made fruit wines from just about every kind of fruit you can imagine. It was a good learning ground. We’ve made plum wine, apple wine and cherry wine.

howswine.com.

Contributor at Good Times |

Aaron is a hard-working freelance writer with a focus on music, art, food, culture and travel. In addition to Good Times, he's a regular contributor to Sacramento News & Review, VIA Magazine and Playboy. When he's not working, he's either backpacking, arguing about music or working on his book about ska. One thing's for sure—he knows more about ska than you.

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