Aaliyah Nitoto Receives Prestigious Invitation
The self-made co-founder of Oakland's Free Range Flower Winery will join an entrepreneur-in-residence program.
Image courtesy of Free Range Flower Winery
Winemaker and biologist Aaliyah Nitoto, co-founder of Oakland's Free Range Flower Winery, has been awarded an invitation to join the prestigious Entrepreneur-in-Residence program organized by small-business booster Main Street Launch.
The six-month fellowship includes courses, one-on-one mentoring, a monthly stipend, and more.
Nitoto is currently in the process of ramping up the small-batch production capabilities of her year-old company, which makes wines by fermenting locally sourced, organic flowers — not with grapes.
It's a craft that dates back to the ancient world.
Free Range's first product was "L," a unique sparkling lavender wine, quickly hailed by ABC7 TV News and other media venues.
Then, after its December 2018 release, Free Range's RoseHybiscus wine won praise from Wine Enthusiast, Edible East Bay, and other publications — and scored a silver medal at the 2019 Sunset International Wine Competition.
Both RoseHybiscus and its followup wine, Rose Petal, sold out rapidly.
Main Street Launch's executive vice president Robert Lattimore and EIR program manager Jessika Lopez said they were impressed by Nitoto's wine and FRFW's trajectory when they attended the winery's one-year anniversary celebration this summer at Michelin-recommended Oakland restaurant alaMar Kitchen & Bar.