Virginia is for Lovers … and is the Birthplace of American Wine, a 4-part series: the birthplace of American wine, day one – wineries, day two – wineries, and day three – cideries. Click any of these links to read the other parts! — EH Stafford, Managing Editor
(Part 4 of 4)
Plus, it was Father’s Day so I purposely didn’t plan the day so we could cater to his interests. We started with breakfast at Oakhurst Inn Café and Espresso Bar. We enjoyed a nice breakfast on the patio before exploring the University of Virginia campus. The lawn (Thomas Jefferson designed green space) was beautiful as well as the Rotunda (an iconic building also designed by Jefferson).
Did you know … Charlottesville is not only known for wine, but also cider?!
We are also cider drinkers, so we decided to check out a few on the way back home.
History of Cider
The tradition of cider dates to the colonial days, brought over from England. Similar to wine, Thomas Jefferson was influential to cider production. In fact, he grew eighteen varieties of apples on his Monticello orchard.
Today, Virginia is currently the sixth-largest apple producing state
The state’s cider industry has grown exponentially in the past ten years. More than ten new cideries since 2006, and more on the forefront.
Cider Making Process
Like wine, cider is made through a fermentation process. The difference is that apples are used and they must be ground to a pulp before starting the fermentation process.
Throughout Virginia, there are over 30 different apple varieties used to make cider. Typically, cider is made by blending juice from multiple apple varieties. Most apples used for making cider, are in fact not ideal for eating.
Hard cider can be made bone dry to slightly sweet. And in the state of Virginia, it cannot have more than 7% alcohol.
The first stop was Potters Craft Cider housed in Neve Hall, a former church turned artist residence, just three miles south of Charlottesville on Route 29. The building and grounds are stunning. The kitchen was still closed, but there was a food truck serving customers.
The Cider was currently (in June) sold by the glass/can/bottle, no tastings available. We tried the Farmhouse Dry, Passionfruit Mosaic, and Strawberry Ginger. These varieties were on the bone-dry side, but with plenty of fruitiness.
Our second and last stop was Albermarle CiderWorks. This is a family run operation that started out as a retirement project for Bud and Mary Shelton. The orchard grew to include over 250 apple varieties and later expanded its offerings into a nursery that sells trees to fruit enthusiasts (called Vintage Virginia Apples LLC).
In 2009, it was only natural that they decided to open a cidery named Albermarle CiderWorks. Now it offers fifteen cider varieties.
We had a tasting of four ciders, plus a glass of the Harrison. We favored the Pomme Mary cider a semi-sweet blend of Albermarle Pippen, Winesap and Arkansas Black varieties.
Until next time
Well that was our first visit to Charlottesville and Monticello AVA. We thoroughly enjoyed the regions’ wine, cider, and food. I am already planning our next trip!
If you missed the Virginia is for Lovers series, learn more about the Wineries and Cideries we visited:
Part 4: Day Three, Cideries (This article)
Photos courtesy Stephanie Roberts
Stephanie Roberts, WSET® Certified, is passionate about educating people about wine and all its complexities. She believes that through education comes enlightenment and approachability – elevating the wine and food experience. Stephanie offers unique and tailored wine experiences.
Wine education and topic-driven tastings are now available virtually and in-person for private groups. Choose to attend a scheduled class such as the 4-part Wine Education Series or customize a session to your specific interests. Corporate happy hours (virtual for now) are also available. Contact Stephanie directly through FB, IG or email (email@example.com) or reserve your spot at a public event through FB (@Corks&Boards) or Eventbrite.