St. Ambrose Cellars

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Commercial Meadery Category: Commercial MeaderiesCommercial Meadery Tags: beulah, grape honey wine, michigan, and st. ambrose cellars

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  • We started keeping bees almost 32 years ago and quickly became full time beekeepers in the early 1980’s. We named our company Sleeping Bear Farms, inspired by the awesome Sleeping Bear Dunes, which is now a national park.

     

    As beekeepers having access to an almost unlimited supply of honey, making mead was a natural course to follow. Some were good and that was enough to pursue a life long quest to make great mead. Over the years, with the help of local winemakers in our region, a knowledge of good wine-making technique was acquired and applied to mead making.

     

    It wasn’t long before we were making 100-200 cases a year for our beekeeping staff and friends and supplying mead for our music festival friends. The idea of starting a commercial winery was entertained and we obtained the paperwork to obtain our license. Ironically, it sat buried in a pile for 10 years before we filed the paperwork and started purchasing larger stainless fermenting vessels, pumps, chilling equipment, and filters. The vision was being realized.

     

    A good example is the first great mead we made: One of our staff was making our raspberry honey crème while we were absent, in Florida doing our winter bee work. He accidently made the crème honey spread with a moisture level that was extremely high and we couldn’t eliminate the excess moisture so it would keep well. When I lamented that we would probably have to throw out 1000 lbs. of honey, Sharon suggested that I ferment it out to mead. Brilliant! We’re still drinking some of that mead.

     

    As we continue to make our meads and wines, we attempt to bring a new world contemporary sensibility to an ancient beverage, with a focus on good balance on the palate. We press our own grapes and fruit, in addition to producing our own honeys in Michigan and Florida. Our two flagship honeys are Star Thistle produced in northern Michigan and Tupelo produced in the panhandle of Florida in the river basins.

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