I guess it all began with me. Experience in the clandestine making of wine and other forms of spirits, during the time in this country when liquor was prohibited, laid the foundation of Dielle’s meadery. After being forced to retire at age 48 because of a burning accident while operating a distilling machine, I decided not to sulk and wallow in the misfortune, but rather, to make myself busy and useful. In that, I would say, I was successful.
It was in the year 2002 when I noticed the honey being harvested from bee colonies at our backyard. Processed nectar gathered by bees from flowers—all organic. Wow! I immediately thought, Why not make honey wine? So with 2 gallons of honey, I started my first batch. At that time, I did not even know that the production of honey wine—or mead—had already been done a long time ago in Europe and in the USA as I learned from the Web much, much later.
The fermentation time involved in making honey wine was just as long as in grape winemaking, about 15 days. Several months later, after the stuff cleared, with great anxiety, I tasted my first batch of mead. It was good—very good, in fact. Relatives, neighbors, and friends liked it a lot. That became the catalyst to continue the production of the consequent batches, and we made as many as the production of honey could offer.
Then more people started coming for our mead, and we began selling it to compensate the cost of honey being used. Some people who kept on coming back said that it cured their colds and cough problems; some said it made them more energetic and active.
We sold our product to a very limited market, and our honey wines were featured in several tiangges (bazaars) and distributed to some hotels. The feedback was terrific—people wanted more of it. Thus we decided to produce and offer it commercially at the start of 2007 after registering it at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the local government of Muntinlupa, and the BIR. Our product also passed the chemical and microbiological tests done by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) with flying colors, and thus Dielle Honey Wines was born. —Lolo Ben
It all started out as a hobby: Our proprietor, Luke Macababbad , was originally interested in beekeeping as a pastime. Then after attending a seminar on apiculture, his casual fascination with bee colonies turned into a more serious undertaking, and he went on to put up 4 bee colonies in our backyard in Muntinlupa in 2001. The first harvest produced 100 kilos of honey, which was very encouraging for a beginner. As his level of technical know-how and diligence increased, so did the the production per colony, and more colonies were eventually set up.
We have now several colonies in Muntinlupa, Batangas, and San Pedro, Laguna. Most of the honey produced is used to make honey wine.
Trivia: All of us at Dielle had been stung by a bee at least once, not because the bees enjoy stinging humans and do it for pleasure, but because we sometimes inadvertently stepped on them whenever they accidentally wandered into our house. Wouldn’t you sting somebody who stepped on you too?