The Wine Doctor

Dr. Godwin Meniru of Jackson Township seems unstoppable. The gynecologist, obstetrician — and vintner — has gone from producing mead to hard cider to sangria in less than a year at his Meniru Meadery at 5868 Fulton Drive NW.

Godwin Meniru is a successful ob/gyn by day — and an award-winning vintner by night

Dr. Godwin Meniru of Jackson Township seems unstoppable. The gynecologist, obstetrician — and vintner — has gone from producing mead to hard cider to sangria in less than a year at his Meniru Meadery at 5868 Fulton Drive NW.

And now, he’s added microbrews to his list of offerings at the winery and tasting room.

“It’s just another step.” Meniru said, “in my master plan as a beverage producer.”

Meniru got his start in hobby winemaking as a teenager in his native Nigeria. About five years ago, he became interested in honey wine, or mead, which is said to be mankind’s first alcoholic beverage. If you’ve never had it, mead tastes similar to traditional wine. Don’t expect a bold honey taste, but one more subtle and delicate.

Meniru started making mead in small batches in his basement, with help from his wife, Maryann, and their four children.

“It’s traditionally just honey, water and yeast,” Meniru explained. “From there, you then can add different fruits and berries, cider, malt, spices if you like.”

Other nuances come from the flowers that the bees frequent.

“There are a variety of flavors you get from different honey,” he said. “Such as wildflower and orange blossom and buckwheat.”

Meniru had so much success with his meads, he entered several in the 2012 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition.

In a stunning victory, he walked away with Winemaker of the Year. Quite the feat, considering he was up against 1,400 winemakers from all 50 states and seven countries, with a total of 4,318 wine entries.

“It blew me away,” Meniru said.

It also inspired him to go into production for the public. He opened the winery and tasting room in October with a focus on about 11 varieties, including Cherry Honey Wine, Orange Blossom Mead, and Pinot Gris Mead.

From there, he delved into hard cider and sangria — and received rave reviews from customers.

Julie McDonald, a nurse from North Canton, loves the honey hard cider.

“It satisfies the beer drinkers and the wine drinkers,” said McDonald, 45. “It’s like a wine but more of a carbonated beverage, yet has the familiarity of beer for people who prefer beer.”

McDonald enjoys it for more than drinking.

“It’s great for cooking as well,” she said. “At Thanksgiving, I used it to make my cranberry sauce.”

This time of year, splash a little hard cider into ground beef when making hamburgers, or enjoy it with ribs (see recipe).

The doctor started out with more traditional varieties of craft brews for debuting them. But after he gets those under his belt, watch out.

“Mainly I’ll do a pale ale, an IPA, porter, brown ale and Imperial Stout,” Meniru said. “After that, things can go crazy, like chile beer, peanut beers.”

“Many of our women patrons like wine, and I think the men will like beer,” he said.

Count Carlton Jarrett of Plain Township among them.

“I’m pumped,” said Jarrett, 33, who frequents the establishment with his wife, Tiffani.

While Tiffani is known to enjoy a nice glass of Midnight Queen mead — a complex mix of black currants, blueberries, black cherries and wildflower honey — Carlton has other tastes.

“I usually get the hard cider and the sangria is phenomenal,” he said. Craft beer means one more thing to enjoy, Jarrett said.

The Menirus often serve as bartenders at their Meadery. For information, call 330-244-8515 or visit www.menirumeadery.com.

ABOUT MENIRU MEADERY

Dr. Godwin I. Meniru, owner of Junaelo Women’s Clinic, is an accomplished winemaker specializing in honey wine, hard cider, sangria and microbrews at his Meniru Meadery in Jackson Township.

5868 Fulton Drive NW., Jackson Township.
330-244-8515, www.menirumeadery.com.

TASTING ROOM HOURS 4 to 8 p.m.Thursday and Friday, and from 3 to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
MENU INCLUDES Apricot Pyment Mead, Orange Blossom Mead, Peach Pyment Mead, Cherry Honey Wine, Berrylicious! Mead, Raspberry Vanilla Chocolate Honey Wine, Gewurz Mead and Dry Riesling Wine.
ALSO AVAILABLE Berry mead sangria, honey hard cider, and non-alcoholic cocktails. Meat and cheese snacks available.
WINE TASTING FEE 5 wines for $9
GLASS PRICES $5-$6
GROWLER PRICES $18
SANGRIA PITCHER $24.70 (call ahead 24 hours to reserve a pitcher)

HONEY HARD CIDER RIBS

3 pounds babyback pork ribs
1 cup honey hard cider
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 caup honey
1/2 cup orange juice
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.Trim any fat from ribs and cut into three-bone segments. Place ribs in Dutch oven or large baking pan. Whisk sauce ingredients together and pour over ribs. Cover pan with foil and bake for 2 1/2 hours, turning ribs 3-4 times while cooking. Remove pan from oven, remove ribs from pan and set aside, and place pan on stove. Boil pan liquid until it thickens to a syrup consistency. Slather thickened sauce on the ribs as you crisp them for a few minutes on a hot grill or under the broiler. Enjoy with a tall glass of Meniru mead or honey hard cider.