In 2012, the Virginia House of Delegates and the state Senate came together to designate the full week before Thanksgiving as “Cider Week” in Virginia. Since its inception, Virginia Cider Week has evolved to showcase the Commonwealth’s rich cider history and the incredible growth of its cider industry. Throughout the week, cideries from across Virginia host events, tastings, and new releases, offering plenty of ways to celebrate the art of cider-making.
Virginia’s Cider Heritage
Virginia has a long history of cider-making dating back to colonial America. In recent years, the state’s cider industry has experienced a revival, with several new cideries established since 2006, along with wineries producing cider and more prospective cideries in the works. Today, Virginia is the sixth-largest apple-producing state in the United States by acreage, and many of these apples are used in local cider production.
Discovering Hard Cider
Similar to wine, hard cider is fermented, with apples ground into a pulp called pomace before being fermented. What sets cider apart is the diversity of apple varieties used, with over 30 different types grown specifically for cider production in Virginia. Traditional cider apples are classified into four groups: Sweets (high sugars), Sharps (high acids), Bittersweets (high tannins and sugars), and Bittersharps (high tannins and acids). These apples offer a range of flavors, and cider makers blend them to create unique and delicious styles.
Virginia Cider Styles
Like wine and beer, cider comes in a vast array of styles, from dry to sweet, still to sparkling, and simple to complex. Bubbly ciders are created through bottle or tank fermentation, or by adding carbonation during cider making. Dry cider, with its rich and complex flavors, is a great match for meat dishes, while crisp, acidic cider complements buttery dishes. Off-dry cider pairs well with Asian and spicy dishes, and sweet cider is perfect for desserts. Dessert ciders, like pommeau and apple port, offer a delightful finish to a meal.
Virginia Cider Tasting Pass
Check out the Virgnia Cider Tasting Pass to taste and experience Virginia Cider throughout the state. From urban tasting rooms to cideries in picturesque mountainsides, there’s a Virginia Cider for everyone. Sign up today to unlock tasting access at over a dozen Virginia cideries, all crafting ciders of uncommon diversity and sophistication.
Each pass holder will receive four $10 vouchers (a $40 value) to redeem at their chosen cideries. The passport is delivered to your phone via text and e-mail and includes all of your tasting vouchers. When you arrive at the cidery of your choice, simply present your phone to cash in. Then, sit back and savor Virginia cider.
More Ways to Celebrate Cider Week
Check out our events calendar and find a Cider Week event near you! From festivals to dinner parties, events are happening nearly every day of Cider Week. Host a cider tasting! Why not bring the fun of cider tasting to your house? Invite friends and family over for a cider tasting at home. Pick up a variety of Virginia ciders from different cideries and explore the diverse flavors the state offers. Share your cider experiences on social media using the hashtag #VirginiaCiderWeek. It’s a great way to connect with fellow cider enthusiasts and promote local businesses.
As the cider industry continues to grow, Virginia Cider Week is a great opportunity to showcase the unique flavors and traditions that make our cider so special. Dive into the world of Virginia cider, explore its diverse styles, and share the joy of this timeless and evolving craft with friends and family. Cheers to Virginia Cider Week!