The Virginia Cider Trail Coincides with the BevFluence Cider: New Perspectives on Cider, Perry, and Brandy Campaign

This is a big month for Virginia Cider. Last week the American Cider Association (ACA) announced the launch of the Virginia Cider Trail where users of the app can win prizes and receive discounts at participating cider houses. And it just happened that this summer I have already visited four of these establishments. And I believe I was the first to officially check-in using the Virginia Cider Trail app at Sage Bird Ciderworks and Ciders from Mars. 

In addition, our partner site at BevFluence has opened brand registration today for their Cider: New Perspectives on Cider, Perry, and Brandy campaign. The cider, perry, and brandy products will be presented to a combination of industry experts, mixologists, bartenders, creators, bloggers, writers, and other media – and across the craft beverage landscape. This will generate new perspectives about cider, perry, and apple brandy from creators who range from cider novices to experts. I also plan on taking the ACA’s Certified Cider Professional (CCP) exam during this campaign and using the ciders with my training guide. Brands and content creators can register here for the BevFluence campaign or learn more about the CCP here.

Lost Boy Cider is an urban cidery in Alexandria and sources its fruit from various orchards in the Shenandoah Valley. In early June they hosted one of four sessions on the Virginia Cider Road Show presented by the ACA. After a brief overview of Lost Boy by cidermaker Dave, the ACA’s Jennie Dorsey provided a history of cider, a history of cider in North America, and then the history of cider in Virginia. She then provided a brief overview of Virginia’s three most important apple varieties: Newton (Albemarle) Pippin, Hewes VA Crab, and Harrison. She finished by discussing the ACA’s Apple classes (bittersweet, bittersharp, sweet, & sharp); ACA Cider Families (cider, perry, fruit cider, botanical cider, & dessert ciders); cider cocktails; and cider-food pairings. Yes, a boatload of information was packed within each session. We finished with a food and cider pairing featuring cheeses from Cheestique. I think the Barrel-Aged cider paired with the Appalachian cheese, dried pear, and balsamic vinegar was my favorite — very complimentary.

Castle Hill Cider is located east of Charlottesville in Keswick and has an interesting history regarding the propagation of cider apples. As stated on their website:

Colonel Thomas Walker, the original owner of Castle Hill Estate, was the first to bring Newtown Pippin apple scions to Central Virginia following his return from the Battle of Brandywine in 1777.  The variety was planted at Castle Hill and became known as the Albemarle Pippin apple.

And as most Virginia cider lovers know, the Albemarle Pippin is still one of the signature Virginia apple varieties and was even exported to England throughout the 1800s.  Castle Hill Cider was founded in 2020 and the estate is planted with 6,500 trees featuring more than 30 apple varieties including Albemarle Pippin, Black Twig, Harrison, Burford Red Fresh, GoldRush, Dabinett, Hewes Crab, and Wickson Crab. The ciders are bottled in either 750ml or 375ml bottles and range from sweet to dry. 

During our visit, we choose a Classic flight and a Barrel aged flight. The majority of the group preferred the Terrestrial 2020 where the tannins and slight RS are balanced. It’s also an interesting blend that includes Black Twig, Winesap, and Ashmead’s Kernel. Personally, I preferred the funky, dry, and naturally fermented in quevri Levity 2020. Is this the only American cider fermented and aged in Georgian quevri?

For the barrel-aged ciders, the Hewes Pommeau Reserve is fascinating with complexity created by four years of aging in Woodford Reserve barrels and Keswick Winery wine puncheons. I also enjoyed the Silver Bough where Dabinett and Golden Hornet ciders were aged over a year in rum barrels.

Sage Bird Ciderworks is located in downtown Harrisonburg and opened a couple of years ago after the persistently hard work of Zach and Amberlee Carlson. This is the first cidery in the home of the Dukes and they offer an excellent array of various styles. I settled on a flight of five ciders – slightly more than the paddle size. The clear favorite was the Dry River Reserve — their flagship brut cider made from a blend of Virginia-grown apples. The Peaches For Me fits perfectly into the upcoming BevFluence campaign since the cider was aged in used apple brandy barrels. The oak treatment is noticeable — providing a peaches and cream feel with a boost of apple flavors. Finally, an interesting geographic cider is their Stay Gold, a dry cider inspired by West Virginia’s official state fruit, the famed Golden Delicious apple. 

Ciders from Mars is located about 30 miles south in downtown Stanton across the street from both Ox Eye Vineyards and Redbeard Brewing Company. So no excuses for not visiting. The cidery was founded by Virginia natives and science-minded Nikki West and Jeremy Wimpey. And Nikki improved her cidermaking through courses at the Cider Institute of North America -> a partner of the American Cider Association. Over a burger from 1Tribe Farm, I sampled six ciders through a standard flight. The Helles Dry is a solid representation of a brut cider and on the other side of the spectrum, the Pink Oceans was interesting with a subtle strawberry profile. However, the most impressive cider was easily the Liquid Gang, made from foraged apples and fermented using native yeast. The tannic structure mimics biting into an apple. Could be my favorite cider made in Virginia and is on par with the excellent cider from New York’s Aaron Burr Cidery.

RTD Cocktails Profile: Wild Roots Vodka Sodas

Who has taken a bottle of vodka and infused some type of fruit into the alcohol? I’ve done it with blueberries, figs, and blackberries but never achieved the success of Portland’s Wild Roots Spirits and their range of fruit-infused vodkas. Each of these spirits starts with six times filtered corn-based vodka infused with over a pound of real fruit farmed in the Willamette Valley. Grapes are not the only quality fruit grown in the largest river valley in Oregon. Recently Wild Roots entered the RTD market by creating a series of Vodka Sodas based on these infused vodkas. These 12-ounce sparkling craft cocktails are low in alcohol (4%), gluten-free, flavored with natural ingredients, contain only 2 grams of carbs, and have less than 100 calories.

Our influencers received a combination of four cocktails: Raspberry Vodka Soda, Lemon Vodka Soda, Peach Vodka Soda, and Blackberry Vodka Soda. Their favorites varied but all appreciated the portability, freshness, and low alcohol — particularly while hiking and hanging outside. Here are some of the Instagram posts from the participants.

Let Her Drink Wine
Swig & Ramble

RTD Cocktails Profile: Post Meridiem

We’ve learned from the highly successful Rendezvous: An In-depth Look at RTD Cocktails campaign that RTDs come in flavors, percent alcohol, and size. One brand that has stood out despite its diminutive size is Post Meridiem Spirits, a producer from Atlanta, Georgia. Their RTDs are intended to directly correlate to a craft cocktail so each can is 100ml in size and equates to a standard cocktail pour. In addition, these rugged – yet artistic cans – are encased in a steel wall, encouraging their portability for hikes, picnics, beach visits, and foreign travel. Post Meridiem also provides transparency regarding the ingredients – proudly displaying the cocktail recipe directly underneath the cocktail name. And finally, these are not low alcohol crushable RTDs, these are true cocktails with the alcohol content reflecting what would normally be expected in the targeted recipe.

Our influencers received a combination of four cocktails: The Modern Classic Cosmopolitan, The Double Old Fashioned, The Real Lime Juice Margarita, and The London Dry Southside. Their favorites varied but all appreciated the portability, transparency, and quality of each cocktail recipe. Here are some of the Instagram posts from the participants.

Princess Nohelani
Let Her Drink Wine

San Diego Trade Industry & Media Wine Tasting – Santa Barbara Vintners

You are cordially invited to an exclusive intimate wine tasting experience on Thursday, June 16th, from 4 pm – 7 pm at Luce Loft in downtown San Diego. Register here.

Hosted by Santa Barbara Vintners, a non-profit trade association, this special evening will feature top producers from Santa Barbara Wine Country, which was honored last fall as “Wine Region of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

What to expect: Taste acclaimed wines from 10 of Santa Barbara’s premier vintners, including wineries such as Foxen, Fiddlehead Cellars, Sanford Winery, Margerum, Miller Family Vineyards, Zaca Mesa, Folded Hills, Hitching Post, Dierberg, and Fess Parker.

  • Taste exclusive offerings brought in only for this event as well as wines grown from iconic vineyards such as Bien Nacido, Vogelzang, Sanford & Benedict and Star Lane.
  • Enjoy light bites paired with wines inspired in a fusion of styles from Santa Barbara meets San Diego!
  • Learn about Pop-Up Wine Events kicking off in San Diego this summer.
  • Hear about the recently launched Santa Barbara Vintners mobile app.
  • Meet more than a dozen winemakers to learn what makes the award-winning Santa Barbara wine region California’s hidden gem.

Alison Laslett, CEO of the Santa Barbara Vintners, will also be on hand to talk about the region as a world-class wine-producing and wine grape growing region, as well as an unmatched weekend getaway.

We hope you can join us for this special evening.

This is a San Diego Industry Trade* & Media event only please see below for what constitutes as ‘Trade / Industry’

Please RSVP to this email by Monday, June 6.

Wine Industry Trade & Media Community: Wine Servers, Wine Buyers, Sommeliers, Wine Brokers, Wine Distribution Representatives, Food & Beverage managers, restaurant managers, Wine club managers, Wine Bloggers, Podcast hosts, Documentary producers, Wine writers, Travel Writers, Travel Bloggers

New York & Chicago: “The Charming Taste of Europe” to hold two promotional events in the US that explore the Sweet Wines of Bordeaux

The Charming Taste of Europe” continues to support its initiatives in the US by promoting The Sweet Bordeaux wines and its territory throughout multiple educational events in the US.

On June 13th, in New York City, there will be a luncheon at Temperance Wine Bar, an electric wine bar in the “village.” Temperance Wine Bar, serves over 100+ wines by-the-glass and none by the bottle. This encourages guests to sample multiple different wines all diverse in style. The food is an array of small plates inspired from many different cuisines and countries making it easy for guests to explore with different pairings. In addition, Temperance Wine Bar is owned and managed by top sommelier A.J. Pons, who also holds his WSET level 3. This event will involve a dozen importers who will taste Bordeaux wines in a tasting paired with a lunch.

The same day, there will also be a dinner dedicated to distributors at The Gallery at Odo, a private space featuring a japanese kaiseki speakeasy. The restaurant will offer a unique experience for the guests and is a perfect location for discussion and networking.These events will be led by Mary Gorman, Master of Wine, specializing in Bordeaux Wines.

On June 15th, in Chicago there will be another event held at Bottles Up from 12-2 pm located at 3164 N Broadway St. Chicago, IL 60657. Bottles Up is a bottle shop + experience consisting of a team who take great pride in caring for the world and what it’s drinking. The event will be led by Kristen Ellis, experienced sales and marketing professional, events manager, and wine educator holding advanced certifications in wines and spirits with over twelve years’ experience in the sales, beverage, and service industries.

This event will also involve a dozen importers who will taste a selection of Sweet Bordeaux wines from the main appellations, such as Côtes de Bordeaux Saint MacaireSainte Croix du MontPremières Côtes de BordeauxCéronsCadillacBordeaux Supérieur and finally Bordeaux Moelleux. These appellations produce wines that pair beautifully with anything from white meat, cheese, duck and even sushi.

From 2021, “The Charming Taste of Europe” campaign, co-financed by the European Union, promotes the Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Kavala (Kavala COOP), the Agricultural Cooperative of Rachi Pieria (“Agios Loukas”) the Vini d’ Abruzzo consortium and the Union of Sweet Bordeaux Wines. The campaign focuses on raising awareness of these high-quality products in the American and Canadian market.

About the Charming Taste of Europe:
Europe, a place with timeless charm, is the birthplace of some of the highest-quality products in the world. The Charming Taste of Europe is a special project that introduces exquisite specialties to the United States and Canada, such as Italian and French wines, and fresh fruits from Greece, that showcase Europe’s charm, beauty, culture, history, art, heritage and unmistakable tastes.

The mission of the Charming Taste of Europe, co-funded by the European Union, is to increase awareness of the merits and quality standards of select European wines and fresh fruits with promotional activities in the competitive markets of the U.S. and Canada. The Charming Taste of Europe is promoted by the Consortium for the Protection of Wines of Abruzzo, the Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Kavala (Kavala COOP), the Agricultural Cooperative of Rachi Pieria “Agios Loukas” and the Union of Sweet Bordeaux Wines. These European agricultural products, famous around the world for their outstanding qualities, will continue to be promoted with initiatives and events for consumers, journalists and trade professionals. For more information visit

To Follow The Charming Taste of Europe Campaign:
Facebook: @CharmingTasteofEU
Instagram: @charmeu_usa
YouTube: The Charming Taste of Europe
Hashtags: #thecharmingtasteofeu and #charmeu

The content of this promotion campaign represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission and the European Research Executive Agency (REA) do not accept any responsibility for any use that may be made of the information it contains