Mead, or honey-based wine, conjures images of Vikings, Renaissance maidens, and Grecian gods. Although mead dates as far back as the ancient Egyptians, it’s not just for the history books. And you can see for yourself at Orchid Cellar Winery in Middletown, Maryland, where their winemakers are tapping into this ancient tradition.
Orchid Cellar produces mainly meads, boasting ten varieties, some made with fruit, and others with different blends of spices.
Winemaker Andrzej Wilk Jr. says the meads are their “interpretation of classic European recipes,” using “the best honey” and only “fresh, high quality fruits, no extracts, preservatives, or artificial flavoring.
“We’ve never stopped experimenting with flavors. At any time, we’re testing up to 40 other meads.” They’ve also just released their first grape-based wine, a 2010 Merlot.
Tastings, which are run by the winemakers or winery owner, cost $5 for the meads and $1 for the Merlot and come with a complimentary glass. The tasting room is open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m.-5 p.m.
While visiting, you can enjoy the vineyard’s scenic view of the Catoctin Mountains from the furnished patio. And don’t forget to request a tour of the winery: the experienced winemakers will happily show you the barrel room and explain how they craft their delicious drinks.
Karolina Gajdeczka is an editorial intern at Maryland Life magazine. She also contributes to Orchid Cellar’s social media efforts.