Wines Worth Buzzing About

Wild Blossom harvests honey for award-winning wines

By Marcus Riley
|  Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009  |  Updated 12:15 PM CDT
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Meet a local winery that makes award-winning wines without a grape in sight.

Meet a local winery that makes award-winning wines without a grape in sight.

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Even if you've never toured a vineyard, most people have a pretty good idea what goes into the process of making wine -- picking and crushing grapes and all that good stuff.

But a Chicago company is making award-winning wines with nary a grapevine in sight. That's because Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery specializes in mead wines, which are fermented from honey.

Not surprisingly, meads tend to be sweeter dessert wines, and even come in flavors such as pomegranate, blueberry and chocolate.

"We like to bring out the flavors of the flowers and the fruits that it's made from, so we like to keep the alcohol down. We want the flavor to come out first and the alcohol is just a fun little extra," says winemaker Greg Fischer.

Wild Blossom ages the wine in stainless steel containers in their Beverly storefront, but things get really interesting when you find out where the honey comes from.

Fischer also doubles as a beekeeper, and harvests honey from hives along Lake Shore Drive, and on the roof of the Marriott Hotel along the Magnificent Mile of all places. The Marriott's chefs also use the honey in the hotel's restaurant.

"It takes about two to three pounds of honey to make a couple bottles of wine," Fischer says.

Fischer says his method of winemaking is more environmentally friendly, because you're not dealing with all the fertilizer and labor involved in making traditional grape wine.

Wild Blossom wines are available locally at larger liquor stores such as Binny's.

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