Local man puts ‘nectar of the gods’ in Pleasanton markets
by Dolores Fox Ciardelli / Pleasanton Weekly
People accidentally discovered that wine can be made from honey at least 20,000 years ago, noted Ayele Solomon, founder of Honey Wine Company.
“A lucky hunter-gatherer stumbled across a beehive filled with rainwater and honey that had fermented into a wine with a divine aroma and flavor” is the way he tells the story.
Fast forward 20 millennia to 2009 when Solomon decided to become part of the saga and produce honey wine for the Bay Area.
Honey wine was the preferred alcoholic beverage in his native Ethiopia, where it is called t’ej and produced mainly in people’s homes, he explained. Muslims in the country drink the beverage before it ferments.
“Ethiopia is the biggest honey wine country in the world,” Solomon said, adding with a laugh, “Every kid has snuck some out of the back room.”
He moved here in the mid-1980s and attended Donlon Elementary. His family owns three Serene Care assisted living homes in Pleasanton, which his mother manages.
Solomon, now 41, a graduate of UC Berkeley, also works developing projects for forest conservation.
“What I studied as an undergraduate was conservation and the economic side of the environment,” he said.
This ties into the efforts of his Honey Wine Company, which launched Bee d’Vine last May in both Brut and Demi Sec versions. It uses fresh California honey from beehives placed in organic fields and pure spring water from a well right on site. Plus the wine production does not use chemicals or large mechanized equipment.
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