It’s the last official weekend of BC Cider Week — which is actually a ten-day celebration of all things cider in our province, but who’s counting — and in case you’re just catching up and missed following our cider stories on Facebook and Instagram, we thought we’d catch you up! Even though #bcciderweek is wrapping up, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy cider this spring.
Here in the Okanagan, you can take part in the Okanagan Cider Trail Challenge, and two of our cideries are participating: Millionaires’ Row Cider Co., and Nomad Cider. You can read more about the challenge and suggested ciders to try on the Okanagan Taste column on Castanet. Be sure to visit one or all of Summerland’s cideries this spring, or safely order online and embrace cider as a great option for celebrations,. dinners or picnics, as ciders are generally very food friendly and refreshing!
Dominion Cider Co. is a small craft cidery, started by three friends — Mike, Robin, and Luke — with the ultimate goal of creating something from scratch, with their hands, on land that they steward. The cidery is named after the Dominion Experimental Farm (now known as the Summerland Research Station), which was a cross-country agricultural network created to support Canadian farmers. With more than 100 years of history, the Experimental Farms were responsible for developing many heirloom apple varieties which have been gradually replaced by vineyards over time. The team at Dominion aims to bring back these heritage varieties, with a modern twist.
NOMAD Cider is a low intervention, farm to glass craft cidery run by Mike Petkau and Brad Klammer. They are passionate about making traditionally crafted cider using only fresh pressed apples and pears, fermented with wild natural yeasts and no additives. They focus on being “nomadic” in global cider culture by stylistically representing cider regions around the world, as well as their own unique creations with an Okanagan twist. They have an ever-changing lineup of flavours and styles including single cider varietals, barrel aged cider using local wine and whiskey barrels, and their unique “Keeved” style.
The roots of Summerland Heritage Cider Company go back more than 20 years to three apple farmers (Tom, Bob, and Ron), who aimed to do something productive with the “less than perfect” fruit that unavoidably happens each harvest. After much research and experimentation, they soon figured out that the apples they grew were not ideal for cider production, so they acquired a small supply of European cider varietals and grafted them onto new trees. In 2008 they had enough fruit to start blending trials, and by 2011 they started commercial production. Fast forward to 2015, Ron’s son Ted and his partner Lauren decided to move back to Summerland after pursuing geological work in Calgary. With the guidance of the original farmers, they have brought some fresh, new concepts to the table.
In the early 1900’s, the Prairie Valley area of Summerland was known as “Millionaires Row” — Lord Thomas Shaughnessy started the Summerland Development Company and convinced many wealthy and prominent businessmen to purchase orchards in Summerland. Family owned and operated by the Annable family — the land that produces the apples for Millionaires’ Row Cider comes from the 100+ year old orchard that was part of the SDC. They have four unique ciders, each inspired by a different part of Summerland’s history; one is inspired by the early entrepreneurial vision which has become a modern day reality as Summerland is now a world class apple growing destination and producer of top quality fruit.