Advanced Mead Making

Event Date

Learn more in-depth about the science of mead, sensory analysis from mead makers and UC Davis Viticulture & Enology professors.

The mead industry is the fastest-growing segment of the beverage market. Advanced Mead Making is a 4 day short course designed for those who have been making mead for at least three years and have completed approximately 30 fermentations. This is the ideal course for anyone planning to open their own meadery, or hoping to learn how best to run an existing meadery. The Center has collaborated with leading meadmakers to design a course that addresses the most important problems and questions mead makers face.

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Advanced Mead Making

Date: June 19 - 22, 2017
Fee: $1250
AMMA member fee: $1000

View the Agenda Here


Select Your Tour Option AFTER Registration

  • Rabbit’s Foot Meadery; Sunnyvale, CA: How to make the most in a small space in Silicon Valley
  • Heidrun Meadery; Point Reyes, CA: Champagne style varietal honey meads created in the bucolic setting of Point Reyes
  • Steele Canyon Cellars; Napa Valley, CA: The 5th generation family of winemakers has recently added mead to their production in their Napa Winery


Schedule Summary



Monday, June 19: Production

How to Scale Recipes
Design issues for a growing Meadery including bottling lines, fillers, filters
Sanitation, cleanliness and safety in the commercial Meadery
Healthy Fermentation
In process testing and Measurement for a Successful product
Fermentation Kinetics: Factors that affect the Speed of Fermentation
Selecting the appropriate honey

Tuesday, June 20: Sensory Aspects of Mead

Learn the basics of sensory analysis and how to apply tasting techniques to mead development.

What is Sensory Evaluation and why is it important
Building a lexicon for aroma, taste and textures
Defining flavors and aromas
Understanding Defects of Mead
Mead tasting directed to understand the attributes learned

Wednesday, June 21: Touring Meaderies/Honey Packing Facility

Participants will select their first second and third choices for tours during the registration process. We will do our best to match your requests. Only 20-25 people can be accommodated in the meaderies and wineries. Please fill out this survey here only after you've registered.

Rabbit’s Foot Meadery; Sunnyvale, CA: How to make the most in a small (tiny) space in Silicon Valley
Mike Faul, Mead Maker
Heidrun Meadery; Point Reyes, CA: Champagne style varietal honey meads created in the bucolic setting of Point Reyes.
Gordon Hull, Mead Maker
Scotto Cellars; Napa Valley, CA: The 5th generation family of winemakers has recently added mead to their production in their Napa Winery.
Paul Scotto, Mead Maker
At least two of our Tour Buses will stop at Z Specialty Food, Woodland, CA so attendees can tour the honey packing facility and sample up to 30 varietal honeys.
Ishai and Josh Zeldner; Honey Packers

Thursday, June 22: Focus on Business

Making and adapting your Business Plan

Branding and Marketing Your Meadery
Channels of distribution from the Meadery to the shelf: A discussion with distributors and brokers
Case studies focusing on tasting room dynamics, staffing the Meadery and growth
Your role in the industry: AMMA, Publications, pledge of quality



Complete 4-Day Agenda (NOTE: Times of courses may change)



Monday, June 19: Focus on Production


8:00 – 9:00 am Registration, Continental Breakfast

9:00 AM Welcome and Introduction of presenters and designers of our program

Amina Harris, Director, Honey & Pollination Center, UC Davis

9:15 AM Fermentation Kinetics: Factors that Affect the Speed of Fermentation

Chik Brenneman; Winemaker, Department of Viticulture and Enology

10:30 AM Selecting Yeast for a Successful Fermentation

Michael Jones; Fermentation Specialist, Scott Laboratories

11:15 AM Break

11:30 AM In Process Testing and Measurement

Chik Brenneman

12:15 PM LUNCH

(Optional Tour) Leed Platinum Teaching and Research Winery

1:30 PM Designing a Meadery: Planning for Variation and Growth

Each Meadery has its own special needs when it comes to bottling lines, fillers, filters, cappers, labeling equipment and even boxing it all up!

Chik Brenneman

2:30 PM Keeping it Clean: Sanitation, cleanliness and safety in the Meadery

Amy Fletcher; Pilot Plat Manager, Food Science and Technology

3:30PM Break

3:45 PM Panel Discussion: To Grow or Not to Grow or How Much to Grow: Keeping it all in Balance

Mead makers each need to make decisions that work for them, their families, their investors and their devotees. Each of our featured mead makers will explain how they have evaluated their needs and planned their Meadery to meet those needs.

  • Michael Fairbrother; Owner, Moonlight Meadery, Londonderry, New Hampshire
  • Mike Faul; Owner, Rabbit’s Foot Meadery, Sunnyvale, California
  • Ash Fischbein; Owner, Sap House Meadery, Center Ossipee, New Hampshire
  • Frank Golbeck; Owner, Golden Coast Mead, Oceanside, California
  • Ken Schramm; Owner, Schramm’s Mead, Ferndale, Michigan

4:45PM MEAD TASTING: Each of our featured meaderies will share one mead that reflects their growth.

5:30 PM Dinner on your own


Tuesday, June 20: Focus on Sensory Aspects of Mead


8:00 – 9:00 am Continental Breakfast

9:00 AM Understanding Defects of Mead: A Tasting of What Can Go Wrong

Six meads with varying issues. The discussion will focus on multiple defects.

Lucy Joseph; Curator, Wine Microbe Collection, Department of Viticulture and Enology

10:15 AM An Introduction to Sensory Evaluation

Presentation defines the concepts and bases for the process of evaluation

Ken Schramm; Owner and Head Meadmaker Schramm’s Mead, Ferndale, Mich.; Author, The Compleat MeadMaker

Pete Bakulic; President, Mazer Cup International, Boulder, CO

11:00 AM Break

11:15 AM The Essence of Mead: A Series of Tastings (Part 1)

Every sugar tastes different. Every acid has a unique effect. How do these components effect the resulting mead. How do we evaluate these components in order to produce an outstanding final product.

12:15 PM LUNCH

1:30 PM The Essence of Mead continues

2:45 PM Mead: Silky smooth or rough and furry?

Presentation will cover mouthfeel concepts with experiences to match!

Anita Oberholster; Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist, Department of Viticulture and Enology

3:45PM Break

3:45 PM Honey: From Bee to the Mead bottle

A tasting of honeys commonly used in making mead

Amina Harris, Director, Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science

4:45PM Culmination MEAD TASTING: Bringing it ALL Together

A tasting in which we will explore basic tastes, mouthfeel, defects, honey sources – you name it. We’ll talk about it!

5:30 PM Dinner on your own

Continue the Experience! Tuesday Evening from 7:45 PM -10 PM in the lounge and on the patio at the Hallmark Inn


Wednesday, June 21: Focus on Touring Meaderies/Honey Packing Facility

Please fill out this survey here to pick your tour (only after you've registered).

8:00 – 9:00 am Continental Breakfast

Box lunches will be distributed later in the day.

Rabbit’s Foot Meadery; Sunnyvale, CA: How to make the most in a small (tiny) space in Silicon Valley

Mike Faul, Mead Maker

Heidrun Meadery; Point Reyes, CA: Champagne style varietal honey meads created in the bucolic setting of Point Reyes.

Gordon Hull, Mead Maker

Steele Canyon Cellars; Napa Valley, CA: The 5th generation family of winemakers has recently added mead to their production in their Napa Winery.

Paul Scotto, Mead Maker

All the Tour Buses will stop at Z Specialty Food, Woodland, CA so attendees can tour the honey packing facility and sample up to 30 varietal honeys.

Ishai and Josh Zeldner; Honey Packers


5:00 PM Arrive back at the Robert Mondavi Institute

Dinner on your own


Thursday, June 22: Focus on Business


8:00 – 9:00 am Continental Breakfast

9:00 AM Branding Mead: Engaging Consumers with Your Story

Kristin Kiesel, Lecturer; Agricultural & Resource Economics

10:00 AM Creating a Business Plan: Analyzing Needs for Your Meadery

Shermain Hardesty, Extension Economist; Agricultural & Resource Economics and UCCE Small Farm Program

11:15 AM BREAK

11:30 AM The American Mead Makers Association: A Growing concern

The American Mead Makers Association is dedicated to helping everyone learn more about mead. Frank Golbeck, Small Industry Board Member and enthusiastic owner of Golden Coast Mead in Oceanside California will give us insights and information into the organization.

Frank Golbeck, Small Industry Board Member, AMMA, Golden Coast Mead

12:15 PM Lunch

1:30 PM Panel Discussion: Cutting through the Mystique of Distributing Your Product

You may have the best mead ever, but if you can’t figure out how to get it onto store shelves no one else may ever know! And what is the different between a sales rep, a broker and a distributor? This panel features sales representatives and distributors from small to large. Each of our presenters will give a short powerpoint about their program or company. Discussion will follow.

  • Ed Revak, Independent sales representative working with several brokerages, Auburn, CA
  • Eric Danch, Blue Danube Wine, Los Altos, CA
  • Cliff Burr, Youngs Market, West Sacramento, CA

2:45 PM Selling Yourself and Your Mead in the Tasting Room

Each of our mead makers will give a short presentation on how they have developed their tasting rooms to help sell their products and their image. Discussion will follow.

  • Michael Fairbrother; Moonlight Meadery, Londonderry, New Hampshire
  • Ash Fischbein; Sap House Meadery, Center Ossipee, New Hampshire
  • Frank Golbeck; Golden Coast Mead, Oceanside, California
  • Ken Schramm, Schramm’s Mead, Ferndale, Mchigan

3:45 PM Your Favorite Mead to Share in the Tasting Room and Why

It shouldn’t be a secret. Each of our guest meadmakers will share the mead they encourage their first time visitors to try. They will give us their reasons and insights as we share lift our glasses.

  • Michael Fairbrother; Moonlight Meadery, Londonderry, New Hampshire
  • Mike Faul; Rabbit’s Foot Meadery, Sunnyvale, California
  • Ash Fischbein; Sap House Meadery, Center Ossipee, New Hampshire
  • Frank Golbeck; Golden Coast Mead, Oceanside, California
  • Ken Schramm, Schramm’s Mead, Ferndale, Michigan

4:30 PM Closing remarks



Amina Harris, Director, Honey & Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute, UC Davis amina Amina Harris is the Director of the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, UC Davis. In addition, Amina is the owner of Z Specialty Food, LLC with her husband and son. Moon Shine Trading Company, a division of Z Specialty, has been offering unique American varietal honeys for over thirty years winning national awards from the Specialty Food Association and the National Honey Board. The Honey and Pollination Center showcases the importance of both honey and pollination to the wellbeing of consumers through education and research through its vision: to help make UC Davis the world’s leading authority on honey bee health, pollination and honey quality. Projects of the Center include the development of a Honey Tasting and Aroma Wheel and creation of a Master Beekeeping Program. An inaugural Bee Symposium was held in the Spring, 2015 in order to help educate beekeepers, gardeners, and students in present day research.
Amy Fletcher, Pilot Plant Manager, Food Science and Technology, UC Davis amy Prior to joining UC Davis, Amy worked the Clorox Company in the Research and Development organization. In her last role she worked in as Foods Process Developer supporting brands such as Hidden Valley Ranch, Nueva Cocina, and Soy Vay. Amy has a degree in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis.
Anita Oberholster, Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist. Department of Viticulture and Enology anita Anita Oberholster, an assistant Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology, specializes in wine chemistry. Oberholster completed her Ph.D. in wine chemistry at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. Oberholster was affiliated as a wine researcher with Stellenbosch University in South Africa for 10 years before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2011. Her research focuses on two areas. She examines how growing practices and environmental factors such as climate change influence grape ripening and composition. She also investigates the influence of different winemaking techniques on wine composition and quality. In both the vineyard and the winery, she explores alternatives to enhance sustainability of the industry.
Ash Fischbein, Owner, Sap House Meadery, Ossipee NH ash Ash Fischbein, successful owner/ operator of two thriving businesses in Ossipee, NH, was inspired to create his first mead by reading the epic story of Beowulf while in high school. Ash and his cousin, Matt Trahan turned Ash’s hobby into a business and started Sap House Meadery in 2010. Founded on the principals of being completely locally sourced and/or fair trade and organic, Sap House is committed to creating a product that is steeped in history, produced naturally, and enjoyed universally. Almost all of their meads have won international awards from the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition to the Mazer Cup and are distributed in ten states. The New Hampshire chapter of the Small Business Administration also bestowed its “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award to the founders. In 2014, Ash cofounded his second business, a 360 seat brewpub called Hobbs Tavern & Brewing Company in a historical and iconic farm house. Hobbs offers warmth, history, classic comfort food, and handcrafted beer.
Eric Danch, Northern CA Sales Manager, Hungarian Portfolio Manager, Blue Danube Wine Co eric Eric moved to San Francisco in 2005 after two years living in Europe (Copenhagen & Rome). He then found a job at Teatro Zinzanni, a 3-hour, 5 course, European cabaret meets Vaudevillian circus. After 6 years he left the circus to start an internship with Crushpad, a pioneering San Francisco Custom Crush that made over 700 small lot wines for people all over the world. In 2010, Eric worked harvest for a small Berkeley winery called “A Donkey and Goat,” and did everything from grape to bottle including making his own barrel. D&G was named one of the Top 5 Winemakers to Watch in 2011 by the SF Chronicle. Eric joined Blue Danube in the Spring of 2011 and currently manages sales in Northern California and the Hungarian Portfolio.
Chik Brenneman, Winemaker and Manager, LEED Platinum Teaching and Research Winery, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis chik Chik Brenneman is the winemaker and facilities manager for the Department of Vitculture and Enology, UC Davis. He is responsible for all winemaking and vineyard operations that support the department’s teaching and research mission. In 2006 he worked as the production lab manager for Woodbridge, by Robert Mondavi Winery in Lodi. He has worked as cellar master for both Amador Foothill Winery and Domaine de la Terre Rouge in Amador County’s Shenandoah Valley. Brenneman holds a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science from California State University, Sacramento, a career in which he worked until enrolling in the UC Davis master’s program in 1995. He received his master’s degree in enology from the Department of Viticulture and Enology in 1998.
Clifford Burr, House Account Specialist, The Estates Group, Young’s Market Company clifford Clifford Burr has worked in the restaurant industry for many years in all aspects of management. He hails from London where he has always had a keen interest in wine and education, working in high end London restaurants, such as Café St Pierre in Clerkenwell, London, and catering including serving royalty and even Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Burr is currently working in wine distribution for the last ten years. He has vast experience calling in both the restaurant and retail sides of the business. He is Certified Wine Educator, certified Sommelier and is sitting for the Advanced Sommelier exam July 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Ed Revak, Certified Specialist of Wine, Auburn, CA ed With a degree in Food Service Management from American River College in Sacramento and a credential from the Society of Wine Educators, Ed presently is a wine sales representative throughout Northern California. A Specialist of Wine certification requires a rigorous exam testing a candidate's knowledge and mastery of key elements of wine production and evaluation and major wine regions, climates, soils, grapes, and wine styles. Ed has worked at all levels of distribution with both large and small distributors, brokers and for wineries directly.
Frank Golbeck, Co-Founder & Head Mead Maker, Golden Coast Meadery, Berkeley frank Frank’s love for mead started with his grandfather. He was an apple rancher in Oak Glen, California. He retired from apple ranching and stayed busy making fruit wine and hard cider, grape wine and some mead. Frank’s first memory of mead was at 8 years old, peeking over the back of the bar while his grandfather poured samples of mead to people. They were laughing and having a great time. As he grew older Frank read Tolkien and Beowulf. Shakespeare and Harry Potter… Mead kept coming up in these epic tales. Then, when he was home from college, his grandfather gifted him the last bottle of his mead. 12 years aged. He took his grandfather’s mead to university and shared it with his friends and his now wife. Frank started making mead and discovered more about its magic, and the way it made people dance. Frank was in the navy after graduating from UC Berkeley and was able to collect honey from all over the world. One day, his wife asked what he would do with all of the time, money and energy in the world. He told her he wanted to make mead and share it with people. He has done just that.
Ken Schramm, Author, The Compleat Meadmaker; Owner and Head Meadmaker, Schramm’s Mead, Ferndale, Michigan ken Ken Schramm is the author of The Compleat Meadmaker, the current reference text of record on mead making, which has sold approximately 60,000 copies. He has been making mead since 1988. He is the progenitor and co-founder of the Mazer Cup Mead Competition, the oldest and largest mead-only competition, and the owner of Schramm’s Mead in Ferndale, Michigan. He is also a fruit grower, and has grafted multiple varieties of cherries and apples onto trees in his home orchard. He has presented at mead, beer and wine-making conferences across the United States over the past 20 years, kicked off in 1994 by the first “Mead Matrix” with Dr. Dan McConnell, which featured a flight of 12 meads made with the same recipe, six from the same honey and different yeast strains, and six with the same yeast strain and different varietal honeys.
Kristin Kiesel, Lecturer, PSOE, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis kristin Kristin Kiesel received her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. During a one-year joint postdoctoral appointment with Stanford University, she was involved in developing the SIEPR-GIANNINI Data Center for which she served as a director for several years. In the fall of 2015, Kristin joined the faculty of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics here at UC Davis. She teaches a variety of classes, including Applied Microeconomic Theory and Marketing. In her research, Kristin addresses health, environmental, and social aspects of the US food system with the ultimate goal of supporting a shift towards healthier and more sustainable food choices through effective and efficient policy interventions. In previous work, she analyzed consumer response to food labeling regulations. Her current work applies experimental methods to the evaluation of regulations programs in the school food environment. She also studies the economic impact of local food promotion and has been awarded a USDA planning grant to develop a Food Business Incubator in the Sacramento area.
Lucy Joseph, Culture Curator, Wine Yeast and Bacteria Collection, Department of Viticulture and Enology lucy Lucy Joseph has been the curator of the Wine Microbe Collection in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis since 1999. This collection contains a large number of Saccharomyces strains as well as many wild yeast strains and spoilage yeasts, such as Brettanomyces. The bacteria collection contains many Oenococcus strains as well as spoilage bacteria. The collection can be accessed at: Follow the “Research” links to find the database. Lucy’s research interest is in the microbial ecology of managed ecosystems, such as fermentations. Recently her research has focused on microbes in stuck fermentations, Saccharomyces native to California, and the metabolism of Brettanomyces isolated from wines. She received her Bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Oregon State University and her Master’s degree in microbiology from U.C. Davis. She worked for 15 years in the Agronomy and Range Science Department at U.C. Davis, where her research background was in the study of rhizosphere plant-microbe interactions.
Michael Fairbrother, Owner, Moonlight Meadery, Londonderry, New Hampshire michael Michael Fairbrother, Founder & Head Mead maker at Moonlight Meadery, Londonderry, New Hampshire, says Mead was love at first sip! Michael left his day job as a software engineer and has been making internationally award winning meads since 1995 and started Moonlight Meadery in 2007, with the first commercial batch being released in 2010. Moonlight Meadery has earned medals at the International Mazer Cup every year it has entered. One the things that attracted Fairbrother to Mead is its versatility. It shows, with the Meadery producing over 70 different meads being commercially produced, available nationwide in the United States, and Australia.
Michael Jones, Fermentation Specialist, Scott Laboratories michael Working in wineries since 1971, Michael made his first wine in the family cellar in 1974. He has made wine every year since, including two vintages in Burgundy and one in the Hunter Valley, Australia. Suffering from a degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, he found solace amongst the vines of NovaVine Nursery and the barrels of Hanzell in Sonoma. Previously, he had been 19 years at Domaine Chandon. Currently, he is fermentation specialist for Scott Laboratories.
Shermain Hardesty, Cooperative Extension Specialist, Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis shermain Shermain Hardesty is an Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis, and also serves as leader of the University of California’s Small Farm Program. After earning her Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from UC Davis, she served as a faculty member at Michigan State University, worked at a rice marketing cooperative and also consulted for farmers and grower associations. Currently, Shermain is responsible for research, education and outreach programs related to small farms, food systems and cooperatives. Since 1992, she has been conducting workshops about starting and operating a specialty food business. In her spare time, she enjoys winetasting and cooking meals for friends and family using locally-grown produce and meats.

Mead Research Fund


As more and more consumers venture into the world of making mead, they search out answers to questions concerning varietal honey selection, yeast selection, recipes and so much more.

Many of these questions are answered in forums online. Others, however, need serious research to address the issues. Recognizing that most meaderies do not have the time or finances to set up and run research trials, and at the request of many meadmakers, we have begun this process here at UC Davis.

We have started simply – analyzing the nutrients in honey – and hope to grow this research and many more over the coming years. Your donation will ensure that this research will continue and help the world of mead become a popular and even tastier beverage in the future.




"The Advanced Mead Making course at UC Davis is THE place to go and learn about mead and the business of mead. Running your own business is very much about maintaining your energy and excitement about what you do. This course will be a shot in the arm and will spread from you to the rest of your team." Glenn Lavendar, Owner, Silver Hand Meadery, Williamsburg, VA

Meadmaking courses from UC Davis are best in class. No other institution can offer the breadth or depth of technical and commercial information, or the networking opportunities to meet others in the industry during the class. Highly recommended. --Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor, author of The Art of Mead Tasting and Food Pairing, owner of Kookoolan World Meadery, and Mazer Cup award-winning meadmaker

"All presenters were experts and did a fine job of sharing their knowledge and passion. We came home with a LOT more knowledge than we arrived with and, if possible, even more enthusiasm." Keven Stevenson, Attendee


attendees presentation