Sparkling Mead | Tradtiional Method

Sparkling Mead | Traditional Method

Sparkling Mead is created in the same vain as Champagne, mead produced by Northumberland Honey Co is a very different offering to most meads.

Production time is in excess of 2 years, following a primary fermentation and a secondary fermentation. Synonymous with the production of fine sparkling wines and Champagne, yet rather than being made with grapes, Sparkling Mead is produced from honey. This enables sparkling mead to be very sustainable, and in fact has helped to increase our bee numbers year on year since it’s inception in 2015.

Explore the finest Sparkling Mead, with the upmost provenance, flavour, history and story

Northumberland Honey Sparkling Mead
Honey for Mead, bees on honey comb

Honey For Mead

Using the right honey for mead is crucial to the end result and quality of the mead.
We are fortunate in that we produce all our own honey for our meads. Using spring honey in the Wildflower, summer honey in the Rosé and Heather honey in the Heather Mead.
In the same way that different grapes give a different wine, different honey gives a completely different flavour of mead. With this in mind too, every season is slightly different depending on the different forage that is naturally available to the bees which is often constrained by weather. This is an interesting concept as it is likely as we progress through the years of producing Sparkling Mead we will gain a real appreciation for what is a ‘vintage year’ in terms of the quality of the honey and resulting quality of the Sparkling Mead. Something we are studying closely.

Traditional method for Mead Production

The meadery at Haltwhistle houses rows upon rows of bottles undergoing the traditional method. The traditional method involves a second fermentation inside the bottle, essentially the same process that is used to create Champagne and sparkling wines. Naturally the yeast has to be removed, via a process called riddling. Riddling involves gently turning the bottles over many weeks until all the yeast is in the next/cap of the bottle.

Following this process disgorging takes place. Disgorging is the processes of removing yeast from the bottle. Yeast removal is obtained by freezing the bottle neck/cap at around -25 degrees celcius. The cap is removed (containing the yeast), and the final cork/ wirehood is put in place. 

Producing Sparkling Mead in the traditional method is a labour of love, taking 2-3 years to produce a bottle, with special vintages now ageing for over 5 years. 

The decision to make a traditional method Sparkling Mead was to show just what quality product the bees can produce, with every bottle a signature of that particular honey variety and season, naturally slightly changing from year to year. 

It’s amazing to think, no grapes at all are used in this process, simply honey, spring water and yeast. Which also means mead is gluten free!

Meadery | Riddling Sparkling Mead

Sparkling Mead Varieties

You can find all the varieties of Sparkling Mead either below or on the online shop.

Each variety in essence follows our seasons. Starting with Wildflower produced from Spring Wildflower Honey, Rosé from the Summer wildflower and tree honey, and finally Heather from the end of the season made from the finest Heather honey.

Each variety is completely different, reflecting the honey. Wildflower being the driest, Rosé carrying subtle sweetness with a dry finish, and Heather being a bold deep honey giving the most complex character of them all.

If you’re looking for the one most comparable to a brut Champagne, then Wildflower Sparkling is the way to go, and for something sweeter, the Heather Sparkling. Rosé is brilliant in that it is technically dry, but the Hibiscus flowers really bring out the honey aroma and flavours giving a nice botanical edge to a very special Rosé Sparkling.

What is Mead | Sparkling Mead