Ken and Akiko first began looking for a home for Freeman in 1997. Most weekends saw them driving up and down the Pacific Coast searching the back roads of the coolest parts of Pinot and Chardonnay country. They weren’t looking for something grand. They were looking for the right place to plant Pinot Noir—a place where nature’s own rustic elegance could serve as an inspiration for a more sublime style of winemaking.
In 2001, they found what they were looking for on a steep, redwood-covered hillside in the foggy Green Valley, near the Russian River Valley town of Sebastopol. With a house and a small winery they could make their own, it was ideal. The cool Green Valley is widely considered the optimal location for growing Pinot Noir in all of the Russian River Valley AVA. It was also a site with Pinot history in its foundations. Not only was it surrounded by some of California’s most legendary Pinot vineyards, in the late ‘70s, Williams Selyem had made one of its first vintages at the small winery.
Once rugged and a little rundown, over the years the site has been transformed by Ken and Akiko. With an aesthetic drawn from, and in harmony with, the beauty of its surroundings, the Freeman Winery is like a philosophical extension of the wines—offering grace without unnecessary excess. From the adjacent, lovingly tended, eight-acre Gloria Estate Vineyard to the exquisite utility of the ever-cool wine cave, everything has a purpose and a place at Freeman.