Our story started more than two decades ago with a small batch of experimental mead, fermenting in a glass demijohn under the loft stairs. The mead was made from locally sourced honey, using an old recipe from our current meadmakers’ grandmother. The result was amazing: a golden honeyed nectar with the distinctive nutty, woody flavour of River Redgum honey.
Tasting the potential of this delicious drop, pioneering meadmaker and co-founder of The Old School Winery, Frits Massee, decided to take it to the next level. The glass demijohn under the stairs was soon replaced by a shed filled with oak barrels and small stainless steel tanks as Frits brought the techniques of modern small-batch, artisan wine production to the ancient, almost mystical craft of meadmaking. He established one of the first meaderies in Australia to explore and develop the potential of Australia’s unique honey varieties.
Now his family continues the tradition.
Making Our Mead
From the rivers, forests and plains country of southwestern NSW and northern Victoria, we source honeys such as such as River Redgum, Yellow Box and Orange Blossom for our meads. Then the work (and magic!) of meadmaking begins.. . It’s both a craft and a science: the meadmaker has to draw on a blend of personal taste, experience, tradition, and the newly developing science of meadmaking. Meadmakers from mediaeval times would recognise much about our processes and product. But they would probably also be excited by new methods to control and enhance fermentation and reveal the subtle varietal characteristics of individual honeys, by adjusting factors such as yeast type, residual sugar and alcohol levels, and maturation time.
Compared to grapes, honey can be fairly temperamental and challenging to ferment, and there is always the risk of a ‘stuck ferment’. But if all goes well, the winery fills with the warm fragrance of honey, and near the tanks, if you listen carefully, the quiet sound of foaming yeast can be heard. When all is satisfactory in the tanks, the ferment is complete and the yeast begins to settle out, the mead is then racked off and aged in oak barrels or stainless steel vats before bottling.
Producer-Wholesaler Licence No.24008153
It is against the law to sell or supply alcohol to, or to obtain alcohol on behalf of, a person under the age of 18 years. Our wine shipments require signature on delivery (or collection from Post Office) by the customer, who must be at least 18 years of age.