White Winter Winery specializes in the crafting of mead wines—an ancient form of wine made with the addition of honey and the option of fresh fruit, like strawberries, blueberries and apples. Jon and Kim Hamilton founded White Winter in 1996, after years of amateur winemaking and backyard beekeeping. Located in Iron River, Wis., 40 miles east of Duluth, White Winter sits near a unique 12-square-mile micro-climate on the shores of Lake Superior that allows for long, cool nights and warm days extending the growing season by several weeks. It is also a prime location for honey production, with an abundance of such flowers as Dutch white clover, which yields a pollen that results in sweet, light honey—the perfect ingredient for mead.
One of White Winter’s founding objectives is to help develop a sustainable rural economy in the region. To do so, Jon and Kim Hamilton purchase fruit, honey and most other ingredients from nearby producers in rural Wisconsin and Minnesota. Using local ingredients, White Winter produces around 50,000 bottles of mead annually.