Ken Schultz is our guest and we learn more about Hidden Legend Winery. He explains the process of procuring the honey to make his award winning Mead.
In a winery grapes come ripe in the fall. Of course, there's things to do all year, but that's called the crush. They harvest the grapes, they crush them, they press them, they get them in the tanks and they ferment. And then they sit in the tanks for a while. Then they look to finishing the wines and the whites come first and they're usually in the bottle before Christmas. And then the reds sit all winter and they're in the bottle by June. They really only make wine once a year. And that's during the fall. I make wine continuously. I buy honey twelve to thirty thousand pounds at a time and I am continually if I get an empty, empty tank, I fill the tank. That can be a couple of times a month. And so I don't have to once a year look up how I did it last year. What kind of honey are you dealing with in Montana? Oh yeah. We have basically two types here in Montana. We have a wildflower honey in western Montana, I should say, up and down the western side of the Great Divide. We have five valleys and there's probably five major producers up, say, a half a million pounds a year. Most of it is wildflower, which used to be before the state declared war on it. Most of it was spotted in. And then there's a fair amount of clover, honey, and we use both. And we have two very distinct styles of meat that we make from each. And the clover honey here is entirely different. I grew up on Clover Honey in Ohio and I thought it was a trap. I hear it's very exciting. The national blenders just take everything they can get their hands on. It poured into a big battle. Honey bears. Oh no, that's hard work. Yeah, that's very easy. You don't hear much out of beekeepers because they're always working. We've all had honey crystalize in the cupboard and then with Montana winters I imagine you get honey in all different varieties of stages and things. How do you deal with that? Montana is second in the nation in honey production. When we get it in the drums, it's rock solid, it is barely filtered. There's bee parts floating around in there and in raw honey in that sugar is very quickly so you can knock on it. It's like knocking on wood. So the first thing I have to do is put a strap a heater on the drum and raise it. And I do it over a four or five day period very slowly to about 100 degrees. Let it melt. Now, I really try to be careful with the natural properties of the honey. I want it to come through in the in the mid, whatever those properties may be, magical or medicinal. And both played a big part in historical meat make Out of the whole process. What is your favorite part? I'm going up to the mountain cabin and kicking back in front of the fireplace and having a horn of mead with friends.You say a horn of not Just a horn that fits into advanced meed enthusiasts. Yeah, we import horns from England Cups, mugs and natural horns, just like in the Thirteenth Warrior or Robin Hood or Game of Thrones. Yeah, two of my three sons are principals in the company and a sort of a half son, young fellow that we took in at an early age and raised along with our boys, so and my wife. So there's five of us principally. We say you have to be related to work here or somebody else. And it's time, boys and girls for our listener voicemail. Hi. I was wondering, did anyone besides the Vikings first make mead? At the risk of upsetting a Viking? I would have to say yes, only because Mead is the oldest known alcoholic beverage in world history. However, I would say that the Vikings did enjoy meed the most. Thank you for listening. I'm Forrest Kelly. This episode of The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast was produced by I his. If you like the show, please tell your friends and pets and subscribe until next time or the wine and ponder your next adventure.