From left, Julijana Simjanovski and Rana Jundy stand in front of some of the equipment used to make various flavors of mead at their Sterling Heights production facility.

From left, Julijana Simjanovski and Rana Jundy stand in front of some of the equipment used to make various flavors of mead at their Sterling Heights production facility.

Photo provided by Rana Jundy and Julijana Simjanovski

Ancient beverage brings something new to Grosse Pointe Park

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 9, 2019


GROSSE POINTE PARK — A couple of business newcomers are hoping that local residents will feel the need — the need for mead.

This week, Rana Jundy and Julijana Simjanovski opened Recolte Meads at 15308 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe Park’s business district. Theirs is the first meadery in the Grosse Pointes and offers residents a chance to sample this ancient alcoholic beverage.

Also known as honey wine, mead is essentially fermented honey that can be flavored with fruits, wines, spices or other ingredients. Simjanovski said it can be sweet, dry, or any number of flavors, depending on what’s added.

“Recolte” is French for “harvest,” and Jundy and Simjanovski use only pure, Michigan wildflower honey and local fruits harvested by hand for their meads.

Recolte Meads will be a tasting room where visitors will be able to enjoy a variety of different meads, wines and hard ciders accompanied by charcuterie boards and other hors d’oeuvres that will pair well with the beverages. Although craft beer businesses have become much more common, Recolte Meads will be one of only a handful of meaderies in metro Detroit.

“It’s just a place where people can gather and hang out,” Simjanovski said.

Although they’ll be serving alcohol, the owners see this as a place that will be welcoming to families as well as adults.

“We’re looking to attract clientele of different ages,” Jundy said.

Surgical technicians by day, Jundy and Simjanovski have been friends since they met in 2010.

“Julie’s always been interested in mead,” Jundy said.

One day, Simjanovski received a large quantity of honey, so she made a batch of jam and began using that and other flavors to try to make mead, enlisting the aid of Jundy. The two friends continued to work on their craft, experimenting with and perfecting different flavors and blends.

They make the mead at a facility in Sterling Heights, where the honey ferments and is flavored in large vats before being transferred to bottles or cans. Recolte Meads customers will be able to purchase bottled or canned meads to take home, as well as meads to drink in the tasting room.

Simjanovski said they won’t be serving beer or liquor, but visitors will be able to get customized mead drinks, such as a mead Bloody Mary. And Jundy said the menu and beverages will all be seasonal.

The custom bar — created by Michael Tomlison, the primary builder on this project — was built using wood from a historic barn in Oxford.

“Everything there is repurposed,” Jundy said.

Their catchphrase is, “Live. Love. Harvest life,” and, said Jundy, “We really like to live our lives by that motto.”

Neither of the owners live in the Pointes, but they appreciated the charm of the community. They said they chose the Park because, as Jundy explained, “We were in the area and just fell in love with the area.” Simjanovski said they hope their meadery becomes a destination, and they want it to be a comfortable spot for all.

“We want to be the ‘Cheers’ of Grosse Pointe Park,” Jundy said.

The owners said they hope to be active in the community and local events as well. At Park City Council meetings last year, their business proposal was met with enthusiasm by elected officials.

This business is the kind of new addition that has characterized the Park in recent years and made it a popular destination for visitors and residents. In an email interview, City Manager Dale Krajniak said that new businesses seem to open in the Park each spring “with each increasing the unique character of our small business districts.” Those districts — along Charlevoix, Kercheval and Mack avenues — offer an eclectic mix of restaurants, retail and office spaces, with most of the storefronts being occupied by independents rather than national chains.

On Kercheval, “The addition of Vera’s Closet, Design Du Jour, Recolte (Meads and the) reopening of (Original) Buscemi’s, along with the soon to be open Bricks, all reflect the ever increasing vitality of the Park,” Krajniak said. “These improvements, coupled with those of the prior five years — Red Crown, Atwater (in the Park), Park Grill, Cabbage Patch Café, Zealous Root and Sweeties — further enhance the charm and character of our community. They, along with our summer evening After Six (on Kercheval) events and the K Line Trolley, truly create an identity which is unique, inviting and fun. These districts, our two waterfront parks, our neighborhood schools and homes of character truly make our little corner of this world a special one.”