Image. A close up photo of a honey bee on a dandelion flower.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What’s the difference between mead and honey wine?

They are largely interchangeable terms. In the broad sense mead is made from only honey, water and yeast and honey wine can have fruit, spices or herbs added to it pre or post fermentation. The federal government regulates which term we use on labels.

Is mead beer or wine?

The short answer is neither. The longer answer can be found on the page What is Mead?

Why does the color of mead vary so much?

The color of mead varies according the color of honey used to create the mead. Mead ranges from almost clear to a molasses amber color, especially if heat is not used in the process. If heat is used; as in a Brochet mead, it can be quite dark in color. If fruit, flowers or spices are used the color change accordingly; from dark purples, bright red, pale pinks, or even blue, the sky’s the limit.

Where are your vineyards?

As there are no grapes in Mead we have no vineyard.

Where are your bees?

The majority of our honey comes from Northwest. We source our honey as locally as possible for a variety of reasons. The most important reason being the environmental impact of moving something as heavy as honey over a distance.

Where did the idea for mead come from?

Mead is most well known as a Celtic or Norse tradition but evidence of Mead or honey wine has been found worldwide in every geographical area with native honey bees. The oldest fermented honey beverages currently known to archeologist dates back to 7000BCE in China and Ethiopia. When it was first made is lost to the ages.

Are all meads sweet?

No. That is up to the mead maker and their skill level. Our mead ranges from <1% to 15% Residual Sugar (RS) Residual sugar is the sugar remaining at the end of fermentation or where it falls on the sweetness scale. Often meads are perceived as sweeter, as honey contains no tannins (which create a perception of dryness).

Should mead be served warm or cold?

That is up to each individuals personal preference. Traditionally it was served warmed or at room temperature. In modern times we’ve become accustomed to “white” and fruit (non-vinifera) wine being served chilled. At Sky River we generally serve our meads slightly chilled but prefer not to get them too cold. As with any wine, much complexity can be lost if served too cold. With that said though, on an 80 degree day a cold glass of mead is as refreshing and delicious as a warmed glass is opulent and indulgent on a cold evening.


What kind of grapes do you use?

We generally don’t use grapes. A true, or straight Mead consists of honey, yeast & water. We do occasionally produce a Pyment (a wine made from grapes and honey). That is currently the only exception.

Is your mead kosher?

Yes, and this is our Kosher Certificate (PDF).

Is your mead gluten free?

Yes, all Sky River Meads are gluten free.

How much alcohol is in mead?

Our mead generally has an ABV of 11-12.5% depending on the variety. Mead as a category can range from 4-20% or higher if fortified. We prefer a moderate alcohol level as we find it’s friendlier to food.

How long does mead last?

I can only speak to our meads but most have a high aging potentially, if properly cared for. Unopened they have the potentially of lasting for a decade or more. Once opened we recommend keeping them refrigerated where they will last for weeks. Honey is a natural preservative and many of those characteristic make it through fermentation.

Planning a visit

Are minors allowed in the tasting room?

Yes, provided they are considerate of other guests.

Are dogs welcome in the tasting room?

Yes. Provided they are well behaved. Please be aware there are friendly resident dogs as well. Please keep pets leashed and clean up after them.