One of the newest, and smallest, wineries to open locally is Freedom Wineworks. An artisan winery established in 2016, it’s located in the unincorporated area of Freedom.
What began as a hobby for winery owners Randal West and his wife LaRae (they are also the owners of Printshop Santa Cruz) has blossomed into a bonded business—and they now produce Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel, and a hard apple cider, including one that contains five varieties of apples.
Starting out making fruit wines from any fruit they could get their hands on—apricot, olallieberry, strawberry, plum, persimmon—under a label with the catchy name of How Swine—they then gravitated toward Chardonnay and other varietals. The 2016 Chardonnay, which sells for about $25 at Deer Park Wine & Spirits and on Freedom’s website, is crisp and fruit-forward with a subtle whiff of vanilla.
Although the Wests don’t have a tasting room, you can visit them by appointment. Visit howswine.com for more info or call Randal West directly at 408-998-PINT.
The next Passport Day is Saturday, Nov. 18. Purchase a Passport for $65 (valid for two years) and go wine tasting all over the Santa Cruz Mountains. Many participating wineries are not open to the public, so it’s an opportunity to enjoy these artisan winemakers. You can also visit participating wineries all year once you have a Passport. Visit the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association’s website, scmwa.com, for more info.
Santa Cruz Dinner Club
When local artist and muralist Rhonda Mills (who hails from South Africa) is not busy doing custom artwork and teaching art classes, you will find her in the kitchen preparing delicious food. Mills is membership chair of the Santa Cruz Dinner Club—and if some of your goals are to partake of interesting food and wine, then maybe you’ll enjoy being a member of the SCDC. This group of around 40 people holds monthly dinners of three or four couples in a different private home each time. Fun dinner themes include Night in Morocco and Evening in Spain.
Contact Mills at 684-0568 or at [email protected] for more information.