Each month I pose one question to a trio of cidermakers to compare similarities and differences between creators of our favorite drink. We’ve covered a good range of topics: cidermaking challenges, preferred apple varieties, even a few behind-the-scenes peeks at the process. But as the old saying goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” I wanted to find out what our industry heroes do when they’re not busy pressing and juicing and fermenting apples! Hence this month’s question:
What’s your favorite thing to do when not cidermaking?
Tsuyoshi Takemura, Head Wine & Cidermaker | VinVie Winery & Cidery, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Besides making cider, my favorite things are growing wine grapes, reading books and listening to people. Cultivation of wine grapes has many uncertainties, but I like to repeat trials and continue to search for answers. I love reading and conversation because I like to get new insights and perspectives. I also love playing with my son and enjoy learning a lot from him.
Tegan Deanna Biun, Cidermaker | Lost Boy Cider, Alexandria, Va.
I’ve spent the majority of my time over the past decade in the cellars of Montezuma Winery, Eden Cider, Brännland Cidern and currently Lost Boy Cider. When I’m not making cider, I am in the woods. I’ve always adored hiking, but recently I’ve added mushroom hunting. It started in Sweden where svampplockning is an intrinsic part of the culture, permitted on all uncultivated land, along with hiking and more, by allemansrätten, or “the right of public access.” Here in Virginia, I’ve learned to seek different ’shrooms with the seasons: morels first in the spring, followed by oysters and chicken of the woods in summer, then chanterelles and maitake into early autumn, among others. The trick is to select easy-to-safely-identify species and learn about their optimal habitat, like the types of trees they have a mycorrhizal relationship with. What makes mushroom hunting so beautiful is the slower pace and attention to the small details of nature — the texture of bark on various tree trunks, hidden wildlife like turtles and owls, and the soothing scents and sounds of the forest. Even when I come home empty-handed, my motto is “no time spent in the woods is ever wasted.”
Eddie Hengesh, Head of Production/Taproom Manager | Peat’s Original Cider, Stevensville, Mich.
When I’m not at the barn making cider or out running kegs around southwest Michigan, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my fiancée Mackenzie and our eight-month-old son, Arlo.
Our days are typically filled with projects as we power through a neverending to-do list of fixing things in our first home. Arlo crawls around and supervises while we work. Every day he learns something new and cracks me up constantly. I really enjoy cooking with my family (currently working our way through Eric Wareheim’s cookbook); Arlo gets to try out new foods while we prep and our dog, Pierogi, scoops up whatever he drops.
Being so close to Lake Michigan is something we definitely take advantage of, so we go out to the beach during the week when most of the tourists are gone. We float around for a while and then grab some food before going home to sit around the fire. I’m looking forward to sharing that experience with my son once the lake warms up a bit. When there is time left after that, I enjoy working on our cars and listening to podcasts (shout out to American Arts and Culture Review). I’ll wrap it all up with one last thing I love: SLEEP. I can’t get enough of that.
Lee Reeve is the owner-operator of inCiderJapan G.K. (www.inciderjapan.com), an importer/distributor, retailer, and producer of cider and cider-related goods. He is also the publisher of inCiderJapan, Asia’s first and only bilingual magazine dedicated to all things cider.
Lee Reeve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.