Ithaca's Cider Scene
With 10 craft cideries in a 30-minute drive, Ithaca is an epicenter of craft cider. A visit to Finger Lakes wine country isn't complete without visiting the cideries as well. Ithaca’s craft cider scene has been silently growing and captivating new audiences for the past two decades. From the Ithaca Farmers Market to locally-sourced restaurants and the orchards themselves, cider experiences are all around you in Ithaca.
The Finger Lakes — FLX — is among the most dynamic fruit-growing regions in the U.S., with special soils and a unique microclimate. The wines grown and produced in the Finger Lakes have already gained wide acclaim. What’s lesser known — but growing in reputation — is that the FLX is also one of the very best cider regions in the world.
FLX cider has character. While each Finger Lakes cidery has its own style and creativity, there is a common purpose here, to make honest cider. Cidermakers here, growing out of the greater Ithaca area, have agreed on a set of principles, committed to bottling with label transparency.
FLX cider starts in the orchard. In the Finger Lakes, cider starts in local orchards, with special apples grown with care. There is a long tradition of orchard-keeping and cider mills here dating back to the early days of the nation. Too many modern, mass-market ciders are made from apple concentrate, derived from unspecified apples with no sense of place. That’s not how we do it in the Finger Lakes.
FLX cider is made from cider apples. Just like you can’t make great wine from any old grape, you can’t make great cider from the same culinary apples you buy in the supermarket. Great cider requires unique apple varieties, with names you may have never heard before: sharps like Ashmead’s Kernel or Wickson Crab, bittersharps like Kingston Black or Porters Perfection, bittersweets like Ellis Bitter or Chisel Jersey, local New York heirlooms like Northern Spy or Golden Russet. These varieties provide the tannins, acidity, structure, and complexity needed to make great cider.
FLX cider has community. Great cider goes beyond the science of climate, soil, and agriculture, into what the French elusively call “terroir.” There’s a cultural factor, a human element, that involves the vibrant community of cidermakers that live and work in the Finger Lakes.
When you see the FLXCDR seal, you know you’re getting true cider.
“The Finger Lakes, particularly the isthmus between Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake, is the most important cider region in the US, with a burgeoning trail of small artisan producers whose focus is on growing cider apples.”
- The Finger Lakes Is to Cider What Napa Is to Wine
Visit cideries near Ithaca
For the most up-to-date hours and group policies, please visit the cideries' respective websites and social media pages.
Finger Lakes Cider House Hours: Open daily at 11 AM.
Cider by the glass, flights, and locally-sourced lunch. U-Pick organic fruit available seasonally.
South Hill Cider Hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Monday 12 PM to 9 PM; Sunday 12 PM to 7 PM
Cider by the glass, guided tastings, and house-made snacks served. Weekly music events.
Black Diamond Cider Hours: Saturday & Sunday 12 PM to 6 PM, Thursday & Friday by appointment. Cider by the glass, guided tastings, flights, growler fills. All tours must be booked online.
Blackduck Cidery Hours: Open Saturday and Sunday 12 PM to 5 PM, seasonally
Bellwether Hard Cider and Wine Cellars Hours: Friday, Saturday, Monday 11 AM to 5 PM; Sunday 12 PM to 5 PM
Eve’s Cidery Cider tastings and lunch pairings available May through October by reservation; book reservations online.
Grisamore Cider Works cider tastings by appointment.
Redbyrd Orchard Cider Not currently open for tastings. Find their cider at the Trumansburg Farmers' Market on Wednesdays, 4 to 7 PM, May-October. Orchard classes available beginning in 2022.
New York Cider Company No on-site tasting room, find their cider at the Ithaca Farmer's Market.
Cider geek or novice, you'll find fun and educational events exploring cider.
Cider Week New York, an annual event in the spring and fall, is a ten day event with orchard tours, exclusive outdoor guided tastings, and cider specials across the area. ciderweeknewyork.com
Learn More About Craft Cider
- Foraging Wild Apples for Cider with Flock Finger Lakes and Steve Selin
- Cider Pairings in Ithaca with Kae Lani Palmisano and Chef Felicia Barrett
- Available any time on the New York Cider Association's YouTube page
Cider Conversations | Cider Tastings | Orchard and Cidery Tours