New York Boosts Mead-Makers



Mead-makers, the smallest but growing group in New York’s burgeoning beverage industry, are getting a boost from a new state law.

The measure creates a new license for farm meaderies and the Team at Earle Estates Meadery, located in Penn Yan at CK Cellars Winery on the west shore of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region, is excited.

Mead is a fermented beverage from honey that can be made several ways. Its cousin, braggot, is made with honey and barley.

The new law “recognizes the unique space Mead is developing in the fermented beverage world,” responds Paul Curcillo, owner of CK Cellars with his wife, Stephanie King.

“At Earle Estates Meadery (, our Mead, sometimes called “honey wine,” is produced similar to grape wine by simply fermenting honey and water with yeast. That’s why we refer to our Mead as “the other white wine”. (

Under the law, mead-makers who use 100 percent New York state honey will now be able to apply for a state farm meadery license, according to an article on by Don Cazentre. With the license, makers of mead and braggot would be allowed to offer onsite tastings and sell their products by the glass in tasting rooms or takeout packages, the article said. They also can sell any New York State farm-produced beer, wine, cider and spirits.

The New York Farm Winery Act of 1976 is credited with spurring the boom in the state’s wine industry, and other, similar licenses have helped the brewery, distillery and hard “cidery” industries grow over the years.

At Earle Estates Meadery, part of  CK Cellars Winery, mead is the main attraction. Many variations of the ancient beverage are available, and customers can even check out the busy Honeybee observation hive.

“Honey – Mother Nature’s Nectar – The oldest Fermented Beverage” says the headline over the meadery’s text on the CK Cellars website.

The site adds:

“Dating back to before 5,000 BC, honey and water were fermented into mead – now commonly called “Honey Wine”, although some sources indicate Mead is the Oldest Fermented Beverage.

“A uniquely different taste than grape wine, it can be dry, semi-sweet or sweet and is found to be refreshing and with the light aroma of honey. For over 25 years, since 1993, the family owned Earle Estates Meadery has offered mead in many varieties and blends. Its unique nature makes it the perfect blending wine to expand its flavor and taste throughout our production of more than 20 labels by blending our unique honey wine with fruit wine.”

There’s even an ancient saying on the site:

“Old Norse legend tells us of the Mead of Poetry – a drink that will make any taster a scholar that can solve any problem.” Wikipedia attributes the legend of the Mead of Poetry to Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic historian, poet and politician.

“While the smallest segment of the craft manufacturing industry, mead is also the fastest growing,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on his website. “A 2017 industry report compiled by the American Mead Makers Association found that the number of meaderies in the U.S. increased from just 30 in 2003 to 300 in early 2016. In addition to strengthening New York’s thriving craft beverage sector, the creation of a farm meadery license will also further support honey production in New York.”

“New York is the number one producer of honey in the Northeast, and by increasing opportunities for farms to produce mead, our thriving craft beverage manufacturing sector will continue to grow,” Cuomo said. “The creation of the farm meadery license will help strengthen these two great New York industries, and further add to our tourism economy, fueling growth in every corner of this great state.” 

The CK Cellars Winery Campuses are located on the west side of New York’s Seneca Lake (Torrey Ridge, WortHog Cidery, Earle Estates Meadery and Fruit and Specialty Wines and CuKi Fine Wines)) and the east side of Keuka Lake (Rooster Hill Vineyards). For more information about CK Cellars, go to Finger Lakes Wine Country is the largest concentration of wineries east of California, boasting more than 100 wineries producing world-class wines. For more about the region, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *