Georgia Magazine - March 2018 - 18
JANE F. GARVEY
Putnam County Extension Agent
and mead judge Keith Fielder endorses aging mead for better flavor.
"One of the things I see people
fail in frequently is that they don't
let [mead] age long enough," he
says. "Young meads often have
off flavors and a somewhat quirky
personality, and if you let them age,
they'll get a little better."
Magginnis will be working with
Randall Rhea, former owner of Susina Plantation Winery near Thomasville, to make a muscadine mead.
"Randy brought over several
trays of grapes," Magginnis says.
They hand-crushed the grapes and
created mead that has been aging
In Franklin County, Southern
Origin Meadery at Blue Haven Bee
Co. in Canon is a family-owned and
-operated meadery. Working with
winemaker Jabe Hilson of Noble
Wine Cellar, the Southern Origin
team consists of Monroe and Karen
Brown; their son, Andrew; daughter, Brianna Brown-Kidd; and her
spouse, Caleb Kidd, who manages
They launched the operation
last year, offering two meads. The
2016 Pollinator, a pyment (a mead
made with grapes), took a bronze
medal at the Georgia Trustees Wine
Challenge last year.
"We're working on a new pyment," Brown-Kidd says. Several
Jabe Hilson, winemaker at Noble Wine
Cellar, works with the Southern Origin
Meadery team in Canon to produce awardwinning meads.
experimental batches are under way,
and the goal is to have two or three
more types of mead by the end of
the year, she says. All honey used in
the meads comes from the Browns'
The Viking Alchemist Meadery's
Bliss, made from Georgia wildflower
honey, earned a gold medal at the
2017 Georgia Trustees Wine Challenge. Its Ethereal and Antinomy,
also from wildflower honey, took
silver medals, and Sköl won a
bronze medal. The Marietta meadery
is a family-governed operation, with
Brian Kosoris as mead-maker and
his father, Robin, handling the legal
aspects. High school friend Nick
Not sure which one to choose? Etowah Meadery in Dahlonega offers mead flights so
patrons can sample a variety of flavors.
More online at www.georgiamagazine.org
Eifler helps with the brewing.
About a decade ago, Brian
Kosoris tasted his first mead at an
event and really liked it-perhaps a
tad too much that night, he ruefully recalls. So he went looking for
more but didn't like what he found
available for purchase as much as
the first one he sampled. He started
making his own, and friends begged
for it. Finally, his wife, Nicole, told
him that he should either go professional with it or stop making it. So
he went professional.
Coming up this year is a rumbarrel version of its Solifaction,
which will be a bit drier, Brian
Kosoris says. He enjoys it with red
meats because it has a robust flavor.
"I've cooked with it a lot in braises
and use it as a marinade."
In Statesboro, Eric G. VanOtteren bought 26.5 acres of a former golf course and hopes to have
his Five Hives & Vines Meadery
ready next year.
In preparation, he went to the
University of California at Davis to
study mead-making. He'd like to create a muscadine mead.
"I'd [also] like to do a sparkling,
a cyser [co-fermented honey and
apple juice]," he says. While he'll
have a few hives, he'll team up with
local apiary H.L. Franklin for most of
So where is mead headed in
the future? In her book, Zaerpoor
predicts that restaurants will soon
offer mead lists on their beverage
menus. She anticipates mead festivals nationwide and mead sections
at grocery and beverage stores. Tour
buses will ferry passengers to meadery tours, and meadery trails and
regions will soon follow.
Indeed, everything old in mead
will be new again, Zaerpoor predicts.
Decatur-based freelance writer
Jane F. Garvey writes and teaches
about wine and is one of the organizers of the Georgia Trustees Wine