Mead is the most ancient of all alcoholic drinks, dating back thousands of years! Here, the Brazilian organic honey is diluted with water, fermented and then sweetened with more honey before filtration and bottling. You can taste the beautiful pure honey and it has a lemony finish (not too sweet). Getting organic honey from England is very difficult as its near impossible to keep bees out of flying range (3 miles) of conventional agriculture.
Avalon Vineyard, the home of Pennard Organic Wines, is situated on the site of a historic vineyard near Glastonbury and was started from scratch by Hugh Tripp and his wife, Hilary. Starting on just half an acre in 1981 (making their business even older than Vintage Roots!) they were soon encouraged to expand thanks to very positive results in national competitions so they bought more land to expand plantings and build their own winery. From the start Hugh and Hilary were committed to working with organic principles. Hugh was already a keen cider-maker, so he established a cider orchard as well and inter-planted with soft fruit for the sake of diversity. This diversification has been vital to their success. We now make an extensive range of fruit wines, mead, liqueurs and cider. The aim of organic farming is to work the land and grow produce as naturally as possible. The stability of natural ecosystems depends upon the great diversity of plants and animals and their interactions. The natural fertility of the soil is regenerated by the slow release of plant nutrients from manure and other organic matter. Hugh and Hilary grow all their fruit organically, without sprays or man-made fertilisers. This non-intensive approach encourages biodiversity and respects wildlife. They control weeds by mulching, hand-weeding and keeping a ground-cover of grass, which also prevents erosion. All Pennard products carry the Soil Association Organic Symbol trademark which guarantees their organic status. Completely free of chemical residues, Pennard quality products are grown and created in harmony with wildlife and the environment, deep in the Somerset countryside. Mead is almost certainly the most ancient of all alcoholic drinks, possibly dating back some 12,000 years. It is very simply made from honey, diluted and then allowed to ferment. Although English honey is of excellent quality, it is difficult to produce on a large scale because of our unpredictable climate and problems with disease. It is almost impossible to produce organic honey in England, (or anywhere in Europe for that matter) because you can't get your bees out of flying range, (3 miles), of conventional agriculture. Therefore, for their organic mead, Pennard use organic honey imported from Brazil. It is cheaper because the bees don't have to stop work for winter - there are flowers all year round! For the liqueur production, Hugh uses high fruit concentrations that are macerated and fermented before being fortified with strong alcohol resulting in a liqueur of about 21% abv and sweetened to balance.