- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Mead or honey wine is the "in" thing, and the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, directed by Amina Harris, has announced plans for three mead classes for January-February and a feast on Feb. 9 that celebrates mead and honey.
"More and more people are becoming familiar with mead right now," Harris said. "Meaderies are opening at the rate of one every three days here in the United States. And there are quite a few new ones right here in California!" In the classes, you'll learn how to make a good mead and what makes a good mead, she said.
- Thursday, Jan. 11: Mead-Making Bootcamp
- Friday and Saturday, Jan. 12-13: Beginners' Introduction to Mead Making
- Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10: The Styles and Nuances of Mead Making
- Friday, Feb. 9: The Feast: A Celebration of Mead and Honey
The Mead-Making Bootcamp, set from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11 in the LEED Platinum Teacher and Research Winery, will be directed by Chik Brennerman, winemaker for the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, along with assistant winemaker Melissa Pellinii. The hands-on class is limited to 40. The class will feature small learning groups, each with its own UC Davis leader. Each group of 10 will follow a basic mead recipe, completing each step. Finally, students will bottle mead made in previous workshops. The agenda includes a welcome and introductions by Harris; a lecture by Brenneman and Pellini on "What Is Mead? A Recipe for Sweet Success?" Continental breakfast and lunch are included. The cost is $200. Registration is underway here.
The Styles and Nuances of Meadmaking is a two-day course on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10 in the Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Building, featuring keynote speaker Chrissie Zaerpoor of the Williamette Valley of the Pacific Northwest. She is a meadmaker, organic farmer and author of "The Art of Mead Tasting and Food Pairing." The book is billed as "the world's first complete mead appreciation book, with pairing suggestions for all types of mead and food, including Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian. Zaerpoor offers some 50 recipes in her book. In addition to keynoting the event, she will be help develop each of the tastings that will take place over the two days. Registration is underway here. The "early bee" special is $775, and after Jan. 7, it's $825. A centerpiece of the program will be the Center's annual Feast: A Celebration of Mead and Honey on Friday evening.
Feast: A Celebration of Mead and Honey: This is the fifth annual celebration and will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9 at the the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. A pollinator-inspired menu will be paired with a selection of meads, including a variety of UC Davis products and campus-grown produce. The menu will feature mead pairings by meadmaker Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor. This is billed as an elegant fundraiser to help support the Center's mission of making UC Davis the world's leading authority on bee health, pollination and honey quality. The cost is $150. Registration is underway here.
The Honey and Pollination Center, launched in 2011 and affiliated with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is located in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science on Old Davis Road, UC Davis campus. Professor Neal Williams of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology serves as the faculty co-chair. Among the many affiliated with the center are department faculty Elina Lastro Niño, Extension apiculturist, and Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist emeritus.
The center, Harris says, aims to increase consumer, industry and stakeholder understanding of the importance of bees, pollination, honey and other products of the hive to people and the environment through research, education, and outreach. She may be reached at email@example.com.