Published January 23, 2015 – 5:25pm
The Chronicle Herald
People don’t often give me homemade wine. When they do, I treasure the gift. Even if the wine is not perfect (whatever that means), I can appreciate the effort of someone I love, and to me that tastes delicious.
At a wine tasting party a year and a half ago, a guest handed me a bottle of honey wine she had made. Open it in a year, she said.
Honey wine, or mead, is the oldest fermented drink; some historians claim it predates agriculture. The earliest evidence of mead has been found in northern China and dates from 6500 BC. It was made by ancient cultures all over Europe, Asia and Africa.
It makes sense that mead predates any other alcoholic beverage, as the sugar required for fermentation — honey — would have been readily available the globe over, and would not have required processing as would other sugars. To boot, when properly stored, honey is the only food that will not go bad.
The drink of folklore and song is still made today, including at Lunenburg County Winery in good ole Nova Scotia. I asked winemaker Dan Sanft how a person goes about brewing honey wine.