Meadery

Meadery is the word for where mead is produced. Similar to a winery being where wine is produced. The Meadery is at the heart of Northumberland Honey Co and is where thousands of bottles of mead are nestled, up until the point they are sent out for your enjoyment.

From Bees to Bottle, each variety of mead is it’s own vintage, with different years being better for honey depending on weather and how well the bees and flowers do.

Quality honey is the first and most key ingredient to a quality mead sparkling or still!

Meadery | Sparkling Mead bottles riddling
Honey for Mead, bees on honey comb

Honey For Mead

Honey for mead is like grapes to wine. The quality of the honey is integral to the quality of the resulting mead.
 
The bees work furiously hard to gather honey. In some years the weather is so poor, the bees may only have a few weeks of good enough weather to gather all the seasons honey crop.

Provenence to us is key, we know where the honey was gathered to make each bottle and if you see the back of a bottle, each one is individually numbered, ask us where the honey came from and we can tell you.
Put simply however, Wildflower Sparkling comes from the spring Wildflowers, Rosé Sparkling comes from the Summer honey, and Heather, naturally from the Heather honey. All honey is returned from the hives and processed at the Meadery. 


To begin the process of mead making, the honey is mixed with spring water from Northumberland. A primary fermentation occurs when the yeast converts the sugars in the honey into alcohol. Thereafter a period of ageing of around 1 year takes place, before the secondary fermentation begins.

The Traditional Method from Secondary Fermentation to Disgorging

After the first fermentation , the ‘mead’ or base wine as it would be known in sparkling wine production, then goes into bottles for the second fermentation.

When fermenting mead inside the bottle a whole new chemistry occurs, entirely different from when you start with grapes in wine or Champagne making.

Honey aromas and floral flavours are enhanced, and the sought after bubbles are formed.

The bubbles created are small and delicate, and with all the sugars made into alcohol, the result finishes dry, with a refreshing honey flavour.

Upto now, the process has taken at least 9 months some vintages are aged for 4+ years.

Meadery | Riddling Sparkling Mead
The Meadery | Disgorging Sparkling Mead at the Meadery

Riddling and Disgorging

This is the process of moving the bottles gradually over a period of time from a horizontal position, to upside down position, until all the yeast in the bottle is consolidated in the neck and cap area of the bottle. This allows the neck to be frozen, encapsulating the yeast ready to be removed from the bottle.

At this point the bottles can be ‘disgorged’. Where the temporary cap is removed and with a pressure in the bottle of around 90 psi, the pressure blows the icey yeast plug out, leaving only the Sparkling Mead behind.

Once ‘disgorged’ the bottles have a special ‘dosage’ added, also called the Liqueurs d’Expedition & Tirage in Champagne making. In Champagne this is typically brandy and a syrup.


The dosage in Sparkling Mead is kept the mead makers secret

The Finishing Touches

Finally the bottles are finsihed, with the closure of quality and long lasting natural cork and wirehoods.
 
The bottles are then left for 6 weeks in the meadery to allow the dosage to marry, foils and labels are then applied to the bottles by hand.
 
All production takes place in house by our small team, from start to finish.
Meadery | Branded Sparkling Wine Corks | Sparkling Mead Corks