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Quality Heritage & Craft Cider

Eve's Cider Bottles with their Corresponding Cider Apples

With 10 craft cideries in a 30-minute drive, Ithaca, Tompkins County, and its surrounding counties are an epicenter of heritage cider. 

That's not including the Ivy League research being done to study, teach and further the knowledge of cider apples, pressing and the fermentation process. Most people know Ithaca and the Finger Lakes as a wine region, but cider is giving that industry a run for its money. Sitting much closer to wine than beer, cider apples are selected for their taste after fermentation, just how grapes are chosen for wine. 

Did you know there are different types of cider?

Heritage cider is the top tier of craft cider. These ciders “are made primarily from the fresh juice of multi-use or cider-specific bittersweet/bittersharp apples and heirloom varieties; wild or crab apples are sometimes used for acidity/tannin balance. These ciders will generally be higher in tannins and more complex than Modern Ciders. Aroma/Flavor- Complexity derived from the cider maker’s selection of apples and production techniques. Common attributes include increased astringency, bitterness and complex aromatics.” (United States Association of Cider MakersStyle Guides). All cideries listed below make heritage cider, it is extraordinary to find such a high concentration of heritage cideries.

Cider Apples
Photo by Allison Usavage

Finger Lakes Cider Makers

Finger Lakes Cider House – Interlaken
“Finger Lakes Cider House at Good Life Farm is the hub of the hard cider renaissance in New York apple country.  You'll find us on scenic Route 89 along Cayuga Lake in Interlaken, just north of Ithaca and Trumansburg. In our tasting room, you can enjoy artisan ciders from Kite & String  and FLX guest producers, each dedicated to creating distinct, complex ciders from farm-based orchards.”
Kite & String Cider – Interlaken
“'Kite' means light, playful, balanced, and fun.  'String' means grounded to a place, our small farm.  Kite & String ciders are produced at Finger Lakes Cider House on our organic and diversified farm in Interlaken, NY… Cider should taste good.  And be fun.  Seriously.”

South Hill Cider – Ithaca
“South Hill Cider ferments traditional heirloom cider apples as well as wild apples collected in our neighborhood to produce fine orchard-based ciders which showcase the terroir of the Finger Lakes region. We bottle Estate cider from our home orchard, as well as from other interesting orchards that we tend and work with nearby. Our ciders exhibit character and nuance that show terroir - you can taste the orchard in your glass.”

New York Cider Company – Ithaca
“We believe that much of the art of cider making involves helping nature, the best artist, do the work itself. Often this means staying out of the way: Our apple trees, some more than 125 years old… Similarly, our ciders are fermented naturally, without added yeast, whenever possible. “Wild” fermentations can be riskier… the rewards of wild fermentation are a worthwhile gamble. Each carboy, barrel, tank, or vat of cider truly takes on a life—and flavors—of its own.”
See Joseph's feature on Humans of New York that made his business boom. 

Phonograph Cider – Ithaca
“We make world-class expressive cider from high-quality heirloom apples - Always using 100% New York State apples harvested at peak ripeness with no added sugar or carbon dioxide. Entirely pressed in the cool autumn weather and producing sparkling ciders with natural secondary fermentation. Produced in the Finger Lakes, and grown within 50 miles.”

Redbyrd Orchard Cider – Trumansburg
“Redbyrd Orchard Cider is a small family-run cidery with certified biodynamically managed orchards nestled in the rolling hills of the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. We grow heirloom, wild seedling, and European cider apples to produce distinct hand-crafted orchard based heritage ciders. Redbyrd Orchard is proud to be New York State’s first certified biodynamic cider apple orchard.”
Scion Wood – Redbyrd’s Wild Apple Preservation
“Wild seedling apple trees grow well around us in New York.  We find them everywhere, in forests shaded by towering hardwoods, in abandoned fields transitioning from cropland to brush, and especially along hedgerows.  Over the years of discovering, collecting, fermenting and grafting these trees it has become more and more apparent to us at Redbyrd that their value is not only a complex component to cider but is a valuable gene bank for disease resistance.  Every year we graft new selections and increase the “collection” in our orchard.”

Black Diamond Cider – Trumansburg
“The orchard contains over 100 varieties of apples and pears—many of them rare heirlooms and European varieties selected especially for their cider making qualities.”

Blackduck Cidery – Ovid
“Our fruit comes from two separate parcels in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, between Seneca and Cayuga the two largest lakes in the region.  The microclimate at both orchards is perfect for producing a wide variety of cultivars that ripen to their maximum potential.  Warm autumn days and cool nights maintain levels of acidity and tannin, while achieving the right balance of sugars to produce our unique beverages.”

Bellwether Hard Cider and Wine Cellars – Trumansburg
“Located in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York, specializes in the production of hard cider, a new "old" beverage that once reigned as our nation's most popular drink.  We use a wide variety of Upstate New York apples to produce a range of carefully handcrafted, premium ciders.”

Eve’s Cidery – Van Etten
“Eve’s is an orchard-based cidery producing Traditional Method ciders at the intersection of the Southern Finger Lakes and the Northern Appalachian Plateau. Our best days are spent outside in the sun and rain growing apples on steep hillsides and rolling them down to the cidery.  James and Autumn started Eve’s Cidery in 2001, using apples grown at James’ u-pick orchard.  Since then, Eve’s has evolved into a cidery that grows apples for cider-making only, selecting specific varieties and intentionally growing them for cider quality: organically grown apples that bring concentrated flavors, structure and acidity to their ciders.”

Grismore Cider Works – Locke

Tastings at FLX Cider House
Melissa Madden - Owner of Finger Lakes Cider House, Good Life Farm, and Kite & String Cider | Photo by Allison Usavage

 

Ithaca Area Cider in the News

News Article News Publisher Featured Ithaca Cidery (Cideries)
10 Ciders to Turn Wine Snobs Into Cider Snobs Bon Appetit Packbasket by South Hill Cider
Americans Have Been Doing Cider Wrong Forever, and It's Time to Change Bon Appetit Blackduck Cidery and Redbyrd Orchard Cider
These Apple Ciders Are Wild—Literally Wall Street Journal Packbasket by South Hill Cider
The Women Leading American Cider Forward Wine Enthusiast Melissa Madden of Kite & String/FLX Cider House, and Autumn Stoscheck of Eve’s Cidery
From Farm to Glass in the Finger Lakes of New York Perceptive Travel Finger Lakes Cider House
Cornell research boosts New York’s surging hard cider industry EZRA Cornell Orchards and the Hard Cider Program Work Team

 

Join us for a taste!

FLX Cider House
Photo by Allison Usavage

 

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