In this regular column, I pose a single question to three cidermakers in an attempt to discover the similarities and differences between artists of the same craft.
If you’re anything like me, the fact that we’ve made it through to the end of this tumultuous year seems an incredible — if not unbelievable — feat, so I thought I’d reach out for some positive vibes moving forward. Personally speaking, I have my first trip abroad since 2019 that I’m absolutely over the moon about, so it was only natural for me to ask:
What are you and your cidery most looking forward to in 2022?
Steve Garwood, Head Cidermaker and Managing Partner
Ragged Hill Cider Company (Boston, Mass.)
In 2019 we planted a new apple variety called “Franklin” which has been rumored to be a great cider apple. Franklin was developed from a wild seedling in Vermont but it’s so new that no one I know has made a significant quantity of cider with these apples. Our 50 trees on semi vigorous rootstock will take a few more years to mature, but this fall we got two bushels of fantastic sweet, acidic, tannic (though small) apples. I can’t wait to taste the cider. Should be ready by February 2022.
Magdalena Egger, Junior Manager
Floribunda (Salorno, South Tyrol, Italy)
We will probably be sliding into the new year bottling. One of the benefits of the cold days, besides cross-country skiing, are the good conditions for our bottle fermentation. Every year it is thrilling to wait for the new vintage and finally taste it, but this year even more. It is the first vintage made in our new cidery and the house microflora has still to build up. A further change in the cidery is the launch of our first collaboration with a befriended winemaker and distiller.
COVID-19 permitting, we will be able to welcome cider friends in our new tasting room. I would love to have a vertical tasting for the inauguration! Otherwise, I will be content to celebrate the defense of my thissis there. I am curious to see what will happen afterwards, as it will be the first year in which I will not jump between lectures, cidery and orchard; I will stay with the apples through the season.
Chris Payton, Head Cider Maker
Schilling Hard Cider (Portland, Ore.)
We are looking forward to a better apple harvest. 2021 was a tough year in the Pacific Northwest, with everyone from growers to processors reeling from the effects of a poor global harvest. Hopefully, 2022 will bring some ideal weather and better yields.
We are also excited to see growth with imperial cider. With the United States allowing cider over 7% in 12-ounce cans, imperial ciders are popping up everywhere and we expect to see more of them. This opens up the door for ingenuity and for cider makers to take the category in a bunch of new directions. The cider world is full of creative people, so it will be awesome to see what folks come up with.
We’re really pumped for our new Excelsior Red Glo, releasing in the spring. An heirloom imperial cider made with single varietal, pink-fleshed apples called Lucy Glo. The whole imperial category is about to get a glow up!
Lee Reeve is the owner-operator of inCiderJapan GK (www.inciderjapan.com), an importer/distributor, retailer, and producer of cider and cider-related goods. He is also the publisher of inCiderJapan, Asia’s first and only bilingual magazine dedicated to all things cider.
Lee Reeve can be reached at [email protected]