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White Oak Mountain Meadery
by
Kathy Sullivan

March 2011
White Oak Mountain MeaderySummary: White Oak Mountain Meadery is the newest and only meadery on the SoVA Wine Trail in southern Virginia. Visiting the meadery gives visitors the chance to travel in Virginia’s beautiful countryside.

Betsy and Rusty East are the owners of White Oak Mountain Meadery. Rusty is a Baptist minister in southern Virginia. After meeting him it was evident that he must have an outstanding ministry. His enthusiasm and eloquence are wonderful whether he is discussing ministry, farming or mead. After working as a fulltime minister he decided to work with young people. Rusty and Betsy organize youth ministry groups to visit third world countries to help those in need. In order to do this they had to find a way to make an income that would support the ministry and farm.

Rusty grew up on this land and he loves it. He and Betsy want to keep the farm in the family including a small country store that belonged to his grandfather. He sees the meadery as a progression of their faith.

Needing an income Rusty began making mead. At White Oak Mountain the mead is handcrafted in small five-gallon batches. By producing mead, it gives Rusty and his wife the time to visit third world countries with students and also provides the needed income.

White Oak Mountain MeaderyIn March of 2012, the mead tastings took place in their home overlooking a large pond. A portion of their home is also used as a hunting lodge. Plans are in the works to restore the old country store that his grandfather operated. The country store with a front porch will offer mead tastings amidst the atmosphere of yesteryear.

Rusty discovered mead through his love of reading Robin Hood stories. His favorite books centered on Robin Hood. Years later he began reading about mead in great detail. The Easts started making mead at home. Mead bottle tops are sealed with wax. People associate the color of the wax with the style of mead. The labels on the back feature Rusty’s writing as he sits overlooking the Virginia countryside right at his fingertips.

Sunset on the mountain
Work on the farm is winding down, the honeybees are settling in
Time to relax and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation
Time to let the soul take a slow breath
The kind of time that sustains us through the next day
A sense of life getting back on track
That’s life on White Oak Mountain
Our goal is to give you a taste of that
Life in every bottle of mead we make
Welcome to the Mountain.

White Oak Mountain MeaderyWhite Oak Mountain Meads

White Oak Mead was a light yellow. The aroma and taste offered floral and oak notes. The aroma had a hint of bacon and smoke. The finish was crisp with the smoke yielding to honeysuckle. Consider pairing this mead with barbequed ribs, pork or ham. Cinnamon Cyser with apple, cinnamon and honey was a light yellow. The aroma and taste had notes of apple and cinnamon. The finish was crisp. The mead reminded one of liquid apple pie. Semi-Dry Mead was a light yellow color with floral notes. The finish was crisp with a floral aftertaste especially honeysuckle. Sweet Mountain Mead was a light golden color. This is the sweetest mead that Rusty produces. The taste is sweet without being cloying so it’s a good mead to enjoy sipping or with food.

Rusty sees the wonder of honey and mead. He “likes to experiment and dabble” with the possibilities. He noted, “Honey is infinitely variable.” Rusty has done his research on mead. He noted, “Honeymoon comes from honey mead.” He also discovered the legend of mead from the Vikings. It is believed that the peasants had to collect and squeeze the honey from the combs by hand for the enjoyment of the rulers.

White Oak Mountain MeaderyEnjoy visiting and tasting meads at Rusty and Betsy’s home in Chatham, Virginia or look for White Oak Mountain Meadery at The Lynchburg Wine & Beer Festival. Watch for the restoration of the old country store (picture) that will open as the tasting room.

Visit White Oak Mountain Meadery now in the East's home and at the old general store when it opens.

White Oak Mountain Meadery

455 East Store Lane
Chatham, Virginia 24531

GPS: N36º 47.839’ W79º 16.172’


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