Here's What Shark Tank's Honey Wine Is Doing Now

Entrepreneur Ayele Solomon made a deal as sweet as honey when he partnered with the "Shark Tank" investors in 2020. His up-and-coming business, the Honey Wine Company, was feeling the effects of the pandemic lockdown in 2020 when Solomon found out he had been selected to pitch his business to potential investors on ABC's "Shark Tank." 

Solomon entered the Tank seeking an investment of $750,000 in exchange for 20% equity. In the end, he shook hands with four sharks — Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, and guest shark Daniel Lubetzky of KIND Bars — giving up 40% of his business (10% per shark) in exchange for $750,000.

Following the November 2020 air date, Solomon shared his plans with Wine Spectator. Hoping to catch the attention of wine aficionados and high-end restaurants, he looked forward to creating new wine varietals made from honey harvested in specific regions around the world. Solomon also expressed interest in searching for honey produced in his native Ethiopia, which is where he originally learned how to make the product. Considering it's been a few years since the Honey Wine Company's appearance on "Shark Tank," where is the business now?

The Honey Wine Company's story begins in Ethiopia

Solomon's audience with "Shark Tank" investors was part of a much longer journey. He first learned how to make honey wine (which is a bit different from mead) in Ethiopia, where it is locally known as t'ej. In subsequent years, Solomon honed his vintner skills in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa and at his father's vineyard in California's Livermore Valley.

During a drive through Ethiopia's Kafa rainforest in 2009, Solomon was inspired to take t'ej to a whole new level. Not only would the flora and fauna of the rainforest make an ideal habitat for bees, but it could also protect the area against destructive deforestation. The idea wasn't too much of a stretch for Solomon, who was working in wildlife protection and forest conservation at the time. 

After a lengthy research-and-development phase, he debuted Bee D'Vine honey wine to positive reviews, even receiving a 2014 guest spot on the "Today Show." Solomon also opened a tasting room in San Francisco's Ferry Building, but it closed only a few months later due to the pandemic.

Where is Bee D'Vine now?

Success aside, whatever happened with the Honey Wine Company's "Shark Tank" deal? As it turns out, Solomon and his four investors never signed on the dotted line, for reasons unknown. That being said, the Bee D'Vine website and online order page remain up and running, with around a dozen different honey wine options in sweet and dry varieties. 

Bee D'Vine also offers several members-only specialty wines, including the "first and only barrel-fermented honey wine in the world." This particular bottle costs $52, and features notes of cedar, honeysuckle, vanilla, cinnamon, and coconut. Again, you must be a member in order to purchase this wine, but you get free shipping; otherwise, shipping is usually a flat rate of $25, so a membership could be worth it if you like the product.

The company's current valuation is a bit unclear; some sources valued it at $3.7 million, which is certainly an improvement over its "Shark Tank" valuation of $1.88 million, while others say it's closer to $1.2 million. Regardless, in terms of ingenuity, we can count the Honey Wine Company among the best alcohol products ever pitched on "Shark Tank."