Did you know the honey bees perform an intricate dance to send the bees out to collect the nectar? The dance is so specific that bees can travel over two miles, or 10,000 acres and land within 10 feet of the nectar. Quite amazing!
Walker’s Honey Farm was founded in 1930 during the Great Depression by G.C. “Clint: Walker here in Central Texas. It is a little jewel hidden in Rogers between Troy and Temple. It’s a quick and easy drive from the Waco area, and one worth taking.
The Walkers’ farm has been in the same family ever since its conception. It is truly a labor of love throughout the generations where pretty much every family member has worked there at one time or another.
The Walker family remains steadfast in a difficult trade and are highly respected beekeepers throughout the industry, having built one of the largest honey farms in the state. Their knowledge of the bees, the plants, and their artisanal approach with the least interference is highly respected. Bees are their passion.
Clint Walker III and his wife, Janice, took over operations in 1994 and it is their philosophy of “bees to you” that led to greatly expanding the day-to-day operations in 2011 to include a winery producing the finest meads.
Their beekeeping operation has 1,500 hives to manage. That’s a whole lot of honey!
Before anyone turns their noses up at honey wines, here are some facts about the importance of bee pollen and honey.
*Bees pollinate 80% or more of the earth’s foliage.
*Bee pollen is abundant with proteins, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, A and E, and includes nicotinic acid and pantothentic acid. Free amino acids, hormones and trace elements are also in pollen. No other food offers this kind of broad spectrum of natural nutrition.
*Taking local bee pollen can help with seasonal allergies. Central Texans know the allergy suffering here all too well!
*Remember to call a qualified beekeeper to come remove your bee hives, before killing the bees. Beekeepers move them to safety, whereas many others that advertise removal will kill the hives. Some studies say that if bees become extinct, it estimated that within four years the world’s population will come to an end.
Honey also is well known for its medicinal purposes. I personally keep several varieties on hand to take, or even to put on a wound or rash.
While honey has been around since the beginning of time, it seems as though we are still learning about this wonderfully sweet delicacy.
Dancing Bee Winery is a quaint little building beside the bee barn. When you walk in, you are instantly greeted by their knowledgeable staff. The left side offers all the different honeys made, anything from local wildflower to orange blossom, sage and clover, to name a few.
They also have some wonderful Worcestershire sauces, salsas and more made with honey. If you didn't know how versatile honey was before; you will by the time you leave.
The right side of the building has the tasting bar for the meads and wines. Karen was our friendly hostess, guiding our way through the 20-plus wines available. It is an amazing lineup that anyone from beer drinkers to wine drinkers will find something to like.
This was the first place that I have ever tried all the different styles of mead that are produced. However, they also produce more than mead. There are grape varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Malbec, Moscato and a French red called Fer Servadou.
Finding the Fer Servadou was a pleasant surprise, and they make an excellent one. If you’ve never had this particular varietal, think of an Old World pinot noir in style. Their Malbec was nice and not overly done. The Moscato was fragrant and lightly sweet.
The tasting bar was alive with several guests who all seem genuinely amused that their first thoughts about a honey wine were dispelled as they sampled their choices.
Their mead was not syrupy at all, but light and bright ... an easy appeal to everyone. The sparkling mead was also very nice. By the way, we learned that it takes 552 bees plus one queen bee to make one bottle of mead. Wow!
Their melomels (honey and fruits) were really wonderful. They could be light and bright, or a much drier version almost reminiscent of drinking a light red wine. It all depended on the fruit used. The cyser (honey and apple) is the happiest wine of all. It just makes you smile!
Metheclin (honey and spices) are as close to beer as you can find. If you’re a beer lover, these are definitely for you. My favorite was The Beerded One. Really, really good with nice hops on the back palate.
They have a large assortment of meads on tap with fruits and herbs such as strawberry and basil. They mix them with each other to create different drinks. They even had a frozen mead-a-rita.
Dancing Bee Winery is a place for everyone to learn a little, and relax a little. A new appreciation for the bees is something definitely to be found, too.
Wines in Review
Fer Servadou: This varietal is found in southwestern France, and is a member of the Carmenere family. Its complexity is between a Carmenere, Cabernet France and Old World pinot noir. It is a dry red, light in body, nice red fruit aromas and palate with long finish and light to medium tannins. $26.
Cyser: The happiest wine I’ve ever tasted. The award-winning apple mead is crisp and refreshing; made from tart apples and Walker’s local wildflower honey. It’s a refreshing summer wine. $18.
Walker’s Honey Farm Store and Dancing Bee Winery
8060 E. U.S. Highway 190 in Rogers