In 2011 we joined the ranks of Virginia’s Cideries. Our participation in the “maiden” Cider Week VA, mostly involved sitting on the sidelines. We observed the other VA cider companies pour and tout their beverages. Fortunately or unfortunately, we had sold out of our first vintage of ciders, well before cider week in November rolled around. But the experience was meaningful to us because we learned and taught others about cider, at a time when everyone’s interest was being piqued by a loud and unified message. Cider is being revived and reinvented in the commonwealth.
During Cider Week, we are able to share the diversity of ciders and also of Virginia’s Cidermakers themselves. Our differences as cider producers make us strong. Together our ciders create a consummate offering for our customers. It sounds cliché to say “there’s something for everyone,” but in Virginia’s Cider Industry, truly there is! Our similarities are somewhat obvious. We all ferment apple juice and proudly offer it to others. But it is the similarity that makes our Cider Week the most valuable. We all have an overarching aim at teaching Virginians and others about cider. What is it? What isn’t it? How is it made? How is it appreciated?
Cider Week reminds us, on the Old Hill, to not get so content in our “cider literate bubble” lest we become complacent; self-assured to the degree that we forget to spread the word about what real, orchard cider is, and how it’s different from many beverages labeled with that same name. Although this week and every week I’m thankful for the Mega Cider Producers who launch national advertising and marketing campaigns, which draw attention and focus not only to their macro brands but also to the likes of our tiny farm cidery.
At our cidery we experience every day, not just this special week of the year, how Shannon, our cidermaker, cares deeply for the liquid in our bottles. He tends the libation from the time when the trees are sleeping, as he prunes them, to the break of bud in the early spring, to the timing of harvest~which does after all make all the difference in the world~ for the cider that you and I enjoy. This is why we proudly named this blog “blossom to bottle”.
The combination of a new found interest in cider in general across the nation and our gubernatorial Cider Week Virginia affords us a chance to shout from the “Old Hill” top about these things, which we feel passionately about. We welcome the opportunity that this busy and rapid week of the year provides for us. We enjoy taking the opportunity to help people understand what Virginia’s orchard ciders that are carefully crafted are and can be.