Hi-Wheel Wine & Mead Co.

  • hi-wheel-wine-meadery

Commercial Meadery Category: Commercial MeaderiesCommercial Meadery Tags: hi-wheel, oregon, oregon meadery, portland, and wine & mead co.

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  • The Company

    Hi-Wheel Wine & Mead Co. makes fizzy wines out of fruit not typically used for wine making, such as grapefruit, lemon & lime. Brewed with culinary herbs and spices, we present a growing series of session beverages with AVB around 6.8%, such as Ruby Zozzle (grapefruit), Ginger Lemon, Lavender Lemon & Lime Habanero.


    Hi-Wheel also crafts long-aged meads, with a release of Beloved Sovereign – an herbal honey wine made with Sauvie Island honey, savory spices & citrus – later this autumn. These meads are designed for intimate dinners and connections, in tasteful packaging, and run about 14% AVB.

    The Maker

    The man behind the wheel is me, Ken Bonnin Jr. I started home-brewing about 25 years ago in Boston, in my younger days as a software developer, writing desktop publishing software for Windows 3.1. That was when Sam Adams was an edgy craft beer, and I spent many long New England summers on Cape Cod.


    There have been some wanderings between there and here: Europe, San Francisco, Central America & Seattle. However, I always kept my brewing gear stashed somewhere, and when I landed in Portland eight years ago, I resumed my brewing passion with vigor.


    Surrounded by excellent beer, I decided to turn my focus towards honey and fruit as my fermentables, and over the years developed some pretty delightful beverages. And some pretty awful ones; I think I still have a dusty bottle or two of mead made from a pot of coffee (recipe #008).


    And a few years ago, I decided to pursue professional brewing as a mead company, however that plan changed in the Summer of 2013.

    The Fizzy Wines

    One experiment that seemed to please were the fizzy wines made from citrus fruits; they don’t have any honey in them, so they aren’t meads. But they’re darned good. So in the Summer of 2013 I brought a few kegs for my camp at Burning Man, and quickly discovered their popularity (granted, it’s Burning Man, and a week-old Twinkie covered in dust looks like a gourmet treat after few days).


    Regardless, I was intending to make only meads commercially at that time – however, a few very persuasive friends insisted . I returned home, put some serious focus on recipe formulation, and voila – Ginger Lemon was the first product released! In rapid succession came Ruby Zozzle (grapefruit), Lavender Lemon, and Lime Habanero.

    Give Back

    Many years ago while wandering the jungles of Guatemala, I came across Projecto Ak’ Tenamit. These good volunteers support the long forgotten peoples of these lands by bringing medical, dental, and culturally-sensitive education. Hi-Wheel supports three students each month attend school full-time to become leaders for their families and communities.

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