Tasting Room Hours
- Thursday: 3pm-6pm
- Friday: 1pm-6pm
- Saturday: 1pm-6pm
- Sunday: 1pm-5pm
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Sky River Mead is an award-winning woman-owned winery. Proud to be one of the older wineries in Washington, it began in the rugged foothills of the Cascade Mountains. The winery was bonded in 1997, debuted its first bottle in 1999. In 2012, we moved to the Woodinville Winery District. Our new tasting room has event space with artist gallery, a patio area, expansive picnic area, and evolving gardens with beehives on display. Come experience the Nectar of the Gods at Sky River Mead. Sláinte!
From start to finish, Sky River Mead produces meads with some of the purest and greenest ingredients in the world today. While there are numerous organizations that certify grape wineries and vineyards as sustainable, there aren’t such certifications for meaderies. So, we thought we’d share our practices.
Perhaps most significantly, honey itself enjoys one of the smallest carbon footprints of any natural sweetener. Honey production remains so low tech that it employs simple manpower, not lumbering machines. Producing, and using honey is skill based, rather than machine dependent – learned and carried out by farmers in the simplest to most advance economies, and uses only a few feet of land per hive, rather than acres. Luckily, we live in a part of the world where we can draw beautiful honey from many local producers. Additionally, the presence of the honeybees actually increases the health and production of the land that we use.
Our meads are fermented in small batches, year-round. This allows us to function without huge inventories of barrels and equipment which sit idle most of the year.
Originally, we used flint glass from France. It was beautiful but with an eye on sustainability we recently switched to a local glass producer. Not only does the lighter weight local glass use less material to create it also shrinks the carbon foot print by eliminating the need to ship glass from overseas. The glass now only makes the short trip from Seattle to the winery. Our boxes and labels are also produced locally for much the same reasons.
Everything that can be reasonably recycled at Sky River Mead is recycled, reused or re-purposed; glass, paper, cardboard, pallets, batteries, barrels and fluorescent bulbs are recycled. Pallets from glass become pallets of finished wine, barrels are reused or reborn as planters or furniture, and most exciting, cardboard is repurposed as everything from a cushion between pallets, to shipping containers for our father who makes toy cars for children’s charities.
Our new location started as a sweeping grassy hillside surrounded by blackberries and ivy. The view is lovely but the surroundings are a work in progress. We’re planting a variety of the honey bee’s favorite plants, shrubs and flowers for the benefit of our bees as well as an increasing cacophony of native pollinators that find the variety of vegetation to be a much nicer place to live. We’ve also started the process of controlling the blackberries and removing the ivy. Managing, not destroying, the blackberries is an ongoing process but it’s worth it as the bees and bunnies love them. The ivy is an invasive plant that, while pleasing in its place, devours any native plants and trees in its path. Our ivy goal: to eventually eradicate it here at the meadery.
At Sky River Mead, we are very proud of the part we are able to play in fostering green economies.
Glenda Downs and Denice Ingalls are sisters who both came to mead-making almost by accident. Their circuitous routes took them through floristry, the tourism industry, baking craftsman breads, and microbrewing. Denice selects the honeys, works with the wines as they ferment, collaborates on packaging, oversees the mountains of paperwork, and enjoys working with customers and teaching them about mead. Glenda oversees sales and marketing, social media, the tasting room and grounds, art direction, and this website.