Local, sustainable honey wine creates a buzz

May 4, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The bees are abuzz on the roof of the Downtown Marriott Hotel. These are just a few of the 100 hives Greg Fischer keeps across the city. Some of this honey will be used by the chefs in the hotel's restaurants. Fischer will take most of it back to his small store in the Beverly neighborhood, The Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery, wildblossomwines.com..

"Mead is basically wine made from honey," Fischer said.

In addition to being locally produced, the process of making the wine also benefits the earth.

"Honey wine is the most sustainable wine on earth . . . because bees, to make just one bottle of honey wine, will pollinate over two million flowers. When they pollinate two million flowers, that causes those bees germinate seeds which can turn into 20-40 million new seeds which produces that many new flowers. So it's the only one that kind of completes the cycle of nature," Fischer said.

While grape wine is by far the most popular, mead dates back to the earliest days in history.

"Mead was basically the first fermented beverage on earth and it became very popular during wedding ceremonies. The bride and groom would drink mead for one moon, one lunar cycle and that's where the 'honeymoon' came from," Fischer said.

Fischer will be teaching the art of making honey wine and beer at the 6th Annual Green Festival, greenfestivals.org at Navy Pier. The festival will also include a number of workshops, demonstrations, a green marketplace and a green kids' zone.

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