AUG/SEP 2006 | REVIEWS | CIDER
Cider Destinations : Family-Friendly Hard Cider Destinations
Call it what you will — “the other white wine”
or an alternative to lager — hard cider is seasonally
appropriate year-round but truly gets the spotlight during
late summer and fall. Rest assured, this tiny category has
a groundswell of new producers and adherents nationwide. Fine
country living that offers life-enhancing connectedness to
nature certainly has some appeal, and so do road trips to
visit these rejuvenating destinations. For your travel pleasure,
I have spotlighted a few scenic locales with delicious ciders
from two of many traditional apple regions: the seat of cider
in the Northeast and in the Midwest. Take in the joys of cider
excursions before the hectic back-to-school season descends,
or even afterwards, for a great weekend getaway that everyone
will enjoy! If you go, be sure to call first to arrange a
meet-and-greet with the cider-makers.
For your travel pleasure, I have spotlighted
a few scenic locales with delicious ciders.
Hilltop Orchards and Furnace
Brook Winery, Richmond, Mass.
Furnace Brook Winery, the Berkshires’ first farm winery,
is reportedly the largest producer of fresh apple cider in
the Berkshires. This farm winery was intentionally established
to produce Johnny Mash hard cider at the orchard of John and
Julie Vittori. They currently make two ciders, the Johnny
Mash for which they are regionally known and a French-style
cidre (along with award-winning wines). The beautiful Garden
Gables Inn is just 15 minutes from the orchard and winery
and features pick-your-own apples, free hayrides and a farm
market and bakery. Product is widely available in the metropolitan
Boston area as well as the Berkshires, Cape Cod, Connecticut
and New York. Check the online locator for specific information.
Open Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hilltop Orchards and Furnace
508 Canaan Rd.
Richmond, MA 01254
Russell Orchards, Ipswich,
Great year-round family fun is to be had on the 120 acres
of fields, gardens and orchards owned by the Russell family.
Here you’ll find a farm store and bakery regionally
famous for fresh, hot cider donuts and other homemade goods.
Products are made from the orchard fruits. Apple pressings
are on Saturdays in the fall. The Russells make three hard
ciders: dry, slightly sweet and sweet, and they have had nearly
20 years to perfect these products. In addition to the cider-perry
combination and straight perry, expect a wide variety of fruit
wines and an enormous selection of fruits and vegetables to
take home. Check the online calendar for a complete list of
activities, including hayrides, cider pressings, tours, a
music series, and pick-your-own seasonal fruits and vegetables.
143 Argilla Rd.
Ipswich, MA 01938
Farnum Hill Ciders, Lebanon,
The dynamic duo of Louisa Spencer and Stephen Wood at Farnum
Hill has achieved critical acclaim throughout the Northeast
region and beyond since the late 1980s. Highly committed to
the craft and science of cider-making, they continue to grow
classic apple varieties for their offerings. They suggest
September and October as the best time to visit and taste
their eight ciders, which include a seasonal variety for tasting.
Farnum Hill is in the Connecticut River Valley, which offers
cultural activities such as opera, art exhibits, great restaurants
and shopping. The New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism
boasts the most spectacular scenery along the historic Connecticut
River. Take it in by boat (you can even visit an outfitter
to set you up with your own canoe) or arrange a tour.
Farnum Hill Ciders
(at Poverty Lane Orchards)
98 Poverty Ln.
Lebanon, NH 03766
Warwick Valley Winery &
Distillery, Warwick, N.Y.
You may want to leave the children with their grandparents
and make this a getaway à deux for an extraordinary
weekend tasting at the foot of Mt. Adam and Mt. Eve in Warwick,
N.Y. The Warwick Valley Winery proprietors consider their
destination to be “a bit of Sonoma in the Hudson Valley.”
The producers of Doc’s Hard Apple Cider have added Doc’s
Framboise and Perry to their award-winning offerings. In 2004,
they added an eau-de-vie, the first apple brandy produced
in the state.
The stellar team, father and son Joseph and Jason Grizzanti
and Jeremy Kidde, state that all of their products, including
a pear brandy and apple port, are fruit-forward. Enjoy an
added bonus: The pastry chefs in the bakery are all culinary
school graduates. Pick your own pears in August and your own
apples in early September. The winery and tasting room are
open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery
114 Little York Rd.
Warwick, NY 10990
Bellwether Hard Cider, Trumansburg,
Midway between New York City and Niagara Falls is the Finger
Lakes region of upstate New York. The area boasts 11 lakes
and over 650 miles of coastline. The winegrowing region is
centered around six main lakes and has organized wine trails
for exploration. There are roadside farm stands, craft fairs
and extraordinary culinary adventures on the waterfront. The
Cayuga Lake tour includes Bellwether Hard Cider, open year-round.
Bill Barton and assistant cider-maker Pierre currently produce
five hard ciders and will offer two more by September. New
selections will include a Golden Russet cider and a bottle-conditioned
cider. The most popular cider is the Liberty Spy, made with
Liberty apples and Northern Spy apples; next is the Original,
a combination of 15 varietals, “a modern American cider.”
If your palate tends toward the European styles, try Heritage,
a still cider with lots of tannins. The Spyglass is a colonial
style — lighter, sweeter and fairly dry. Newcomer Cherry
Street ranks high in popularity with its spicy, distinctive
apple and cherry flavor. Open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30
Bellwether Hard Cider
9070 Route 89
Trumansburg, NY 14886
Anderson’s Orchards &
Vineyards, Valparaiso, Ind.
Dune County Dry Hard Cider is a parch-dry apple cider wine
aged in oak for six months. Proprietor David Lundstrom said
the first ciders were made in the apple orchard years ago
and in 1994 became available to the public. The 40-plus-acre
property offers a wagon ride tour of the vineyards, and your
children will enjoy feeding the ducks, geese and other animals.
You will find a market with seasonal farm-fresh fruit, homemade
preserves and other gifts. Ask about a guided tour through
the wine cellar. Picnic in the orchard’s sculpture garden,
where your choices of barbecue items and other foods abound.
Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday
from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Anderson’s Orchards & Vineyards
430 East U.S. Highway 6
Valparaiso, IN 46383
ÆppelTreow Winery (Apple
The friendly, dedicated folks at ÆppelTreow Winery invite
to you visit and taste their award-winning artisan hard ciders
made from locally grown fruit. They produce three ciders:
Barn Swallow, their original apple cider; Red Poll, an apple-cranberry
blend; and Sweet Bunting, apple-strawberry — all named
after favorite birds. You will find an assortment of apple,
pear and dessert wines as well. While there, you can golf,
hike a river trail, visit sand dunes and take in a variety
of cultural activities. Open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(except August 12, when a wedding is being held on site).
Also open by appointment.
(at Brightonwoods Orchard)
1072 288th Ave.
Burlington, WI 53105
More Midwest cider adventures are listed at michiganhardcider.org.
Marie Oliver is a beer and cider enthusiast
living in Portland, Ore., and a writer at pdxguide.com.