The interest in the beverage known as mead is exploding across the United States. Three years ago there were 30 meaderies in the country, now there are more than 300. The New York Times recently published an article on beverage consumers’ new found appreciation and interest in the beverage. Mead has long been a staple in countries like Poland, Ireland and even Ethiopia, and is quickly gaining popularity here in the United States. What is mead you may ask? Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains or hops. In a simple term, mead is honey wine. The beverage has actually been on this earth a lot longer than beer.
Midgard Winery in Corfu, NY is Genesee County’s meadery, producing five different flavors or wine. However, this business didn’t get started to capitalize on the latest beverage trend. Midgard Winery grew out of Potocyzk Bee Farm - a farm that has been harvesting bees for over 30 years. It’s a family affair on the farm with father Michael Potocyzk still very active, and his son John playing a leadership role in expanding the business. John Potoczyk, knows bees and hard work. “I’ve been out in the bee yards since I was a little kid and helping my dad’s bee farm for over 20 years.” The wine business got started after their cousin Tony, who is a 30-year home wine maker, made several suggestions that Potoczyk Bee Farm make honey wine. John said that he had tried other honey wines and wasn’t too impressed. However, he finally relented and decided to give it a try.
“We met with him and made a batch of wine,” said John. “A few months later we tried it and it knocked our socks off. So we kept making new batches and it snowballed from there.” As a result, Midgard Winery was born. When people try our wine they are pleasantly surprised that it doesn’t taste anything like grape wine,” said John. “Our naturally raw honey is the basis to producing a sparkling, crystal clear honey wine with all the tastes and aromas of New York’s wildflowers.” Midgard Winery produces five different flavors of wine including three variations of honey apple wines, a blueberry wine and a blended grape rose. Potoczyk Bee Farm produces honey jars as well as bees wax candles. There are about two-thirds of a pound of honey in each bottle of wine. To add some mind-blowing perspective, it takes a bee 800 trips from a flower back to the hive to make one drop of honey. You now know where the term “busy bee” comes from, as bees literally work their entire life. In a very interesting twist, the Potoczyk bee population packs up and travels to Florida for the winter…really!!!! Western New York’s winters can often have an adverse effect on the bee population, with it being common of losing a large percentage of bees due to the climate. As a response to this challenge, the bees are packed up, trucked to Florida where they reside in the fruit groves for a few months. As spring nears, they make a return journey to Corfu. “Everything in the bottles come from New York State, including the bottles,” said John. “We get pressed apples from a local orchard. We use raw honey from right here. Customers like to know that the product is completely made in Western New York.” Where to find it: Visit their web site for a list of locations of www.midgardwinery.com Also Served by the glass locally at: My Saloon, 1928 Broadway (Rt. 20), Darien, NY 14040 585-547-9911