Virginians have a long history of swilling cider—just ask Thomas Jefferson, who served the beverage regularly at his home at Monticello. Today, business is booming for a growing group of Virginia-based cideries, with cider sales up more than 200 percent from 2014 and Governor Terry McAuliffe calling the cider industry a “shining star in our diverse agricultural economy.”
Now in its fourth year, Cider Week Virginia celebrates all things cider with special tastings, dinners, workshops, tap takeovers and more throughout the Commonwealth. We’ve picked out eight highlights from among the dozens of events taking place November 13-22, but be sure to check out the full schedule at ciderweekva.com.
- Richmond Cider Celebration: Get a taste of a dozen different Virginia cideries at Richmond’s historic 17th Street Farmers Market. Participating cideries include Bold Rock Cider, Winchester Ciderworks, Foggy Ridge Cider, Big Fish Cider, and newcomer Buskey Hard Cider, among others. Tastings will be paired with food from local chefs, and tickets also include educational workshops and live music performances. Nov. 14, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $20/advance, $25/door
- Hill and Holler Food Truck Takeover: Touted as “a modern configuration of the farm table,” this roving dinner invites renowned chefs to take over local food trucks at Adventure Farm just north of Charlottesville. Blue Bee, Albemarle Ciderworks, Potter’s Craft Cider and Foggy Ridge will be in attendance. Nov. 15, 5-8 p.m. $65
- Foggy Ridge Cider Tasting and Talk at Early Mountain Vineyard: Get a chance to meet the godmother of Virginia cider at this event featuring Diane Flynt of Foggy Ridge Cider, Virginia’s first modern cidery. Flynt will share her insight into crafting cider with heirloom apples while offering tastings of Foggy Ridge’s Serious, Pippin Gold, and Handmade ciders. Nov. 15, 1-3 p.m.
- Proper Cider and Its Celtic Roots—A Talk with Charlotte Shelton: How well do you know cider’s history? Test your knowledge at Alexandria’s Lyceum history museum, where Albemarle Ciderworks’ Charlotte Shelton will discuss cider’s Celtic roots from Gaul, Galicia and Great Britain to America. The talk will be followed by cheese and cider tastings. Nov. 17, 7 p.m. Free/$5 suggested donation
- Blue Bee Home Cidermaking Workshop: Learn to make your own cider at this workshop hosted by Richmond’s Blue Bee Cider and Original Gravity Homebrew Supplies. Blue Bee’s cellar team will share their tips for evaluating juice, making additions before fermentation, and customizing your cider before bottling. The price includes a gallon of raw juice, cider-making supplies, and a copy of Ben Watson’s Cider, Hard & Sweet. Tues. Nov. 17, 6 p.m. $48
- Mid-Atlantic Cider Smackdown: Sample ciders from beyond Virginia at this blind tasting event highlighting ciders from across the mid-Atlantic region. Attendees will taste some of Virginia’s best ciders as well as offerings from Maryland and North Carolina, then vote on their favorites. Nov. 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m. $15
- Cider Tasting at Gadsby’s Tavern: Step back in time at this 18th century tavern museum in Alexandria, where you can sample ciders from Albemarle Ciderworks, Foggy Ridge Cider, Cobbler Mountain Cellars and Blue Bee Cider. Hors d’oeuvres are included as well. Nov. 21, 7-9 p.m. $45
- Open House Weekend: Multiple cideries are opening their doors for special open house weekends during Cider Week. Castle Hill Cider in Keswick will offer tours of their orchard and the newly opened outdoor tasting bar, Potter’s will have small-batch and limited edition ciders for sale and Foggy Ridge will have self-guided tours and tastings. Albemarle Ciderworks and Corcoran Vineyards and Cider will also host open houses. Nov. 21-22, various times and locations
Photos courtesy of Cider Week Virginia