Sky River Meads embrace so much of what is simple and unspoiled in our world. From start to finish Sky River produces meads with some of the purest and greenest ingredients in the world today. There are numerous organizations that certify grape wineries/vineyards as sustainable but 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!
Sky River 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.
Sky River originally 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 over seas. 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 Meadery 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 & 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 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 Meadery, we are very proud of the part we are able to play in fostering green economies.