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The Island Honey Wine Company in Wheatley River

Laura and Charles Lipnicki offer a taste of their Haskap mead (photo: Buzz)While there is no shortage of wine lovers in the world, and on PEI, it is rare that you will hear someone claim to be a mead lover. Charles and Laura Lipnicki of The Island Honey Wine Company in Wheatley River might just change that.

They are producing a range of mead wines that are created from ingredients produced on their 56-acre organic farm, La Serena. So far they have five different varieties ranging in taste from, as Laura describes it, “mild to wild.” The Buzz editor visited La Serena, and therefore experienced a mid-morning mead tasting.

First taste, the mild, was Wildflower. Charles says that it is the same style as a Riesling or Gewürztraminer. It seemed to surpass that comparison with subtle flavours and aromas of meadow flowers and honey. To be paired with white meats like turkey, for sure.

Next up was an Apple Cider mead. It was fresh and crispy, like biting into an apple. A companion for pork, of course. The apples used are heritage varieties that Charles has grown, the lineage of some going back 200 years.

The third bottle was the centrepiece of The Island Honey Wine Company offerings—Haskap—their premium wine. A unique flavour and a beautiful light red colour. This wine you could sip by itself, but it would also go great with lamb or cheese (or chocolate).

The haskap berry is dark blue and has been treasured in Russia and Japan for centuries for its unique taste and health properties. The haskap used in Island Honey Wine is grown on site.

Moving into the “wild side,” the next tasting was the Lavender mead. As far as the Lipnicki’s know they have the world’s only commercially-produced lavender mead. The flavour and aroma is unmistakable and Laura advises treating yourself to caviar or a fine charcuterie to eat with it.

Lavender is Laura’s love and from the flowers she grows (300 plants) she also makes soap and other products. 

The final tasting was the Nectar Sweet. It is a dessert wine which was much more about flavour than sweetness, but would compliment creamy desserts, cheesecakes and soft cheeses. 

It has great “mouth feel.”

Not only is La Serena providing the ingredients for these interesting wines, but it is all being done with sustainable and organic processes—the sheep eat the weeds between the haskap rows, the ducks keep down the pests around the apple trees and the bees do what they do best. 

This (converted) mead lover strongly recommends visiting La Serena to see, smell and taste for yourself—820 Millboro Rd, Wheatley River, 902-621-0085. www.islandhoneywine.ca

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