Then he said "let there be cider..."
In the beginning…
Everything we do has one, that spark, that flash of inspiration, that thought that feels so crazy or exciting that you're almost afraid to say it out loud.
I have found that sharing those thoughts are what brings it to birth. By throwing them out into the universe it reverberates back to your own ears along with the thoughts of others, both the negative and the positive until we figure out just what we want from it.
That's how we got started on this new adventure of ours, as hard cider makers born from winemakers.
After making wine with my husband for just under 20 years and now looking to open our first winery, I was looking for something new and different that allowed more expansive creativity to add to our business. I have been a painter of modern abstract for many years and feel inspired and excited to sit in front of a blank canvas and share with others what I see because it takes them on my journey with me. I felt that the art of fermenting this new fruit was again that blank canvas full of possibilities in a new experimental and growing culture.
Our new limited winery license allowed us to also make hard ciders, something that I have tried in the past in bottles at restaurants, but they were so sweet that I couldn't even taste the alcohol, bubbly sweet apple juice is how I referred to it. Not my favorite, but what if it could be made differently? To be fair, homemade products are usually far better than anything commercially produced. So what if I was not properly introduced to hard apple cider's true qualities? What if perhaps I met the imposter and not the real thing?
Thus began the experiment, to see just what was possible in the world of hard apple cider. I chatted with my brother-in-law, an avid beer maker and as a gift he helped us make our first batch. At first it had such a crazy funk to it, making me think that it was a failure, so we pushed to the side in our warehouse and forgot about it. But I still wanted to give it a shot, so I purchased my own fresh pressed apple cider, 30+ gallons of it and went to work, reading as much as I can get my hands on about the process, scouring YouTube and researching the ancient art of fermenting apples. To my surprise, there wasn't a lot of solid information out there, just jumbled blogs and differing ideas, so I figured I'm kind of on my own with this.
After years of backpacking the Appalachian Trail, Yosemite, Europe and the wild Alaska frontier, I had always traveled with a journal and a small book about how to identify edible plants so that I could TASTE the earth around me. So the one thing that kept ringing true was that the earth provided such an abundance of plentiful herbs and flowers, why not share some of my favorite tastes with others via my hard apple cider and take them on my journey that way.
So the compass was set that day, pointing north with those thoughts of inspiration and direction on a new trail that lay in front of me, so with a jump in my step and a bit of nervousness in my gut, I took a running leap down that path, but it was just the begining...