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The wine to drink this St Patrick’s Day

If you don’t fancy a pint of Guinness this March 17th, why not try mead wine?

Stout may well be the drink associated with Ireland but Irish wine or mead wine has been around since Medieval times and it’s making a comeback thanks to a number of British producers.

Made predominantly from honey with vine fruit and herbs, mead wine is best known as the ancient drink of Ireland and was said to have been first made in secret by Irish monks, however its origins are thought to go back much further.

Referred to as the nectar of the gods and the golden liquor of poets, mead is rumoured to have aphrodisiac properties and was historically presented to newlyweds to enjoy during what we now call their “honeymoon”.

Here in the South East of England, Loxwood Meadworks’ aim is to re-imagine mead for a new generation, transforming this olde-worlde drink from something you’d swig from a goblet to that which you’d sophisticatedly sip from a wine glass.

Founder Danny Bacon first discovered mead as one of the organisers of West Sussex medieval festival, The Loxwood Joust, and decided to try and bring it back in a more modern way. The company launched its signature Pure Mead in November 2019 and uses 100% honey in the ferment.

Traditional English winemakers have also turned their hand to the production of mead wine. The Lyme Bay Winery in Devon produces a huge range of award-winning meads as well as a Heritage Mead, which is available to buy at English Heritage’s sites across the country.

Meanwhile London-based Gosnells, has been producing mead wine since 2018 and is pitching its latest fizzy mead in a can towards the picnic and festival market. Gosnells offers virtual tastings, if you want to learn more about mead wine and how to drink it, has a podcast interviewing mead producers from across the globe and will soon launch a subscription service for its small batch meads in cans.