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Independent Black winemaker strives to be an example for others

Independent Black winemaker strives to be an example for others
Independent Black winemaker strives to be an example for others 02:24

LIVERMORE - From the wine-making process to the labeling process, Aaliyah Nitoto pays close attention to every detail of her operation -- along with paying attention to what her success means to others.

"It's really important to make sure not only that you have a really pleasing and appealing label that reflects what's inside the bottle - you have to have it put on right," she said.

Nitoto is the founder of Free Range Flower Winery in Livermore. She makes wine from locally sourced flowers.

"The flavor depends on the flowers," she said.

She's come a long way since she started pursuing her dream.

"I started in Oakland in a shipping container, basically, in West Oakland," she said.

In the wine business, there aren't a lot of people who make wine from flowers, and there aren't a lot of people of color in the industry, either.

"Representation is really important," she said. "Winery owners that are black in the United States comprise less than 1% of all the wineries. Of those less than 1% black wineries, black women make an even smaller fraction of that."

But that didn't stop Nitoto from exploring her passion.

"One of the things that has been really important to me as a person is to be there to be an example for other people like me, black people, who have a dream and push for it," she said. "There are so many things to do in the world. You're never going to find out what you're really good at and what's going to bring you joy unless you explore."

A taste for exploration is a key part of the wine-making craft, which is something Nitoto gets better at with every batch.

"I really hope that one day, wine made this way from flowers will be as well-known and widely respected as wine made with grapes," she said.

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