Share Your Cider Stories
Dave and Beth spent several years trying to maintain the old orchard with all its rugged beauty. Unfortunately the trees had moved beyond their prime and had become a source for pests and disease. It was a losing battle.
Then one beautiful day after biking around a lake, they stopped at their favorite pub and decided to try a local cider. This was not your sweet “wine-cooler” type; this one had complexity and character.
Having rose colored glasses on, they moved forward with a plan of putting in a new orchard that would bring back the wonderful flavor of apples specifically grown for cider. They knew the land needed work before new trees could be planted.
After the old trees were removed and the land was re-graded to drain properly, soil amendments were added and cover crops were planted. The local deer population thought this was wonderful, so the next project was putting in an eight-foot deer fence. A well was drilled; pump installed & an electrical supply line brought in and an irrigation system put in.
Wow! What were they thinking! Keep in mind all the research and the manual labor to do most of this was done by Dave, Beth, their children and some wonderful friends.
Then a momentous day arrived, July 19, 2013 three years after Dave’s retirement, Beth retires and becomes a full time farmer! They both continued to work along side the barn construction contractor’s crew and by the spring of 2014 they saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now it was finish-work to do, purchase/install the cider equipment, and prepare for the 2014 apple harvest. That fall, along with family & friends they did their first juicing that produced a thousand gallons of juice. While the juice fermented they continued working with TTB, ABC, State Health Department and the different regulatory agencies to bring the finished product to market.
What! Marketing? Along with farming and cider making came a new frontier, selling and distributing. What’s HARD cider? Does it have alcohol in it?….From local market shelves and restaurants to supermarkets and Yosemite National Park, Sierra Cider grew along with the knowledge of hard cider and the industry.
So is it any good? Are family and friends just being nice with their compliments? It was the question Dave and Beth asked themselves.
2017 was the first year Sierra Ciders were first judged at a cider tasting completion; and not just any. Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, (GLINTCAP). So if you want some great feedback from judges why not go to the world’s largest tasting competition. Well, not only did comments come back but also unexpected awards! Sierra Cider continues entering their ciders at GLINTCAP each year to receive great comments in helping with enhancing their cider making endeavors.
As the trees grew, so did the bounty of apples. From 20,000 pounds in 2014 to 100,000 pounds in 2019!