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AUG/SEP 2006 | REVIEWS | CIDER DESTINATIONS

Cider Destinations : Family-Friendly Hard Cider Destinations
By Marie Oliver

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
Brook Winery
508 Canaan Rd.
Richmond, MA 01254
johnnymash.com

Russell Orchards, Ipswich, Mass.
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.

Russell Orchards
143 Argilla Rd.
Ipswich, MA 01938
978-356-5366
russellorchardsma.com

Farnum Hill Ciders, Lebanon, N.H.
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
603-448-1511
farnumhillciders.com

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
845-258-4858
wvwinery.com

Bellwether Hard Cider, Trumansburg, N.Y.
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 p.m.

Bellwether Hard Cider
9070 Route 89
Trumansburg, NY 14886
888-862-4337
607-387-9464
cidery.com

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
219-464-4936
andersonsvineyard.com

ÆppelTreow Winery (Apple True) Winery
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.

ÆppelTreow Winery
(at Brightonwoods Orchard)
1072 288th Ave.
Burlington, WI 53105
262-878-5345
aeppeltreow.com

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.

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