In 1980 our first colony of honey bees were acquired. As they continued to grow over the years, they lead us not only to honey production, but also to mead and wine making. And so begins the story of the birth of Earle Estates Meadery.
Earle Estates Meadery is a Farm Winery that was established in 1993, and was originally located in Locke, New York. In 1996 the Earle Family decided to open a satellite store on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail to introduce even more people to the delightful and refreshing tastes of contemporary meads and fruit wines. Our satellite store is located on Route 14 in Himrod, New York, which is on the west side of Seneca Lake, halfway between Watkins Glen and Geneva.
With this adventure being successful, and with the growth inspired by the increased tourist traffic, the Earle's increased production, and added a large inventory of grape wines. With a need for more room to accommodate the increase in their wine production, they moved the entire operation to Seneca Lake in 1999. Here at their new production facility, they started a second winery named Torrey Ridge Winery, located 3 miles North of the Earle Estates retail store, where today, all of our meads and wines are made.
Bee keeping and processing honey is an ingenuity in itself. Caring properly for the bees and insuring their health, determining the correct moisture content of the honey, extracting it correctly, then heating only slightly when filtering and bottling, are all the basis of obtaining superior honey and thus Mead.
Here at Earle Estates, the art of wine making has pioneered into fields virtually untouched by the industry. The Meadery, one of three in New York State, received the first approved variance to produce Honey Mead under a new modern day process which we call Contemporary, producing a delightfully enchanting beverage to enjoy. We also produce a Traditional Mead using a formula and process we developed that results in a bountiful elegant wine. Our specialty line of exclusive fruit wines made with locally-grown fruit include such wines as Apple, Black Raspberry, Cherry, Pear, Strawberry, and Blueberry. We also do several blends of mead and fruit wines, creating yet another exciting taste to choose from. Add to the list several grape wines, and there are over 25 meads and wines to choose from.
We invite you to visit us for a taste of our Award Winning Wines. Come visit and browse in our gift shop, which not only displays honey and wine, but many other unique items as well as an observational bee hive.
What is Mead?
For those of you unfamiliar with Mead and its history, Mead is the term used for honey wine. Mead dates back through antiquity with Nordic legends and non-mythological history in Greek, Hindu, Roman and British cultures. Once considered to be a divine beverage, Mead was considered the giver of life, with a common belief that it fell from heaven as dew, then was collected by the honey bee from flowers. This placed honey, the bee and Mead in high stature in sacred mythology. Long associated with revelry and romance, some cultures consumed it daily and others for special occasions only, such as weddings and honeymoons.
Traditional Meads had many different formulas, but the most common method was to boil the honey, making it harsh and robust. Our modern day methods exclude boiling, which is one of the key factors for our uniquely delicate product. Mead predates wine by many years, making it one of man's oldest fermented beverages.