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tourists from around the world interested in tasting different beverages, notes Melissa. “This is a real local product and I’m

excited about how you can style it different ways—from a robust beer- drinker style to a fruity, white wine style,” comments Melissa. She envisions craft cideries working

together to hold events; organizing a cider trail, or organizing cider days. “It would be lots of fun and it could capitalize on the wine tourism promotion,” she explains. They intend only to make

traditional cider using apples, and are working to educate people about what real cider is. “There’s some confusion. It’s not the sugary alco- pops with high fructose corn syrup,” she says. “It’s not a girly drink. It can be

dry and robust or a lighter dry cider.” In order to glean more

industry. It’s all available at: The project went really well and was

very helpful to them in making a decision about whether or not to go ahead with the cider-making project. “The feedback was very

information about whether people liked traditional ciders and what flavours people favour in a cider, the Doberniggs were successful in an application to the Investment Agriculture Foundation for a $6,000 grant to explore the viability of hard cider as a value-added product for Okanagan apple growers. Melissa used a blog of their progress

creating a test batch of ciders and the results of consumer comments on the tasting to inform others in the

The Doberniggs were successful applying to the Investment Agriculture Foundation for a $6,000 grant to explore the viability of hard cider as a value-added product for Okanagan apple growers.

encouraging,” she commented. “It was hugely helpful to take part in that consumer research.” The taste-

testing included both traditional ciders and a sweeter, ice-style cider, made from frozen juice. Of the

traditional, dry ciders, they market-tested two versions of ciders and found nearly 70 per cent of those who tested them would purchase one of them. Some of the

comments included that one tester would switch from wine to cider and another considered switching from coolers to cider. The results were so favourable the

couple made the decision to take the plunge and it turned out to be a favourable year to get the scions well-

started on the old Golden rootstocks, with a wet June to get them started, but a long, dry summer to get them growing. The Doberniggs don’t have facilities

suitable for a cidery on-farm, but they’re now working on a business plan in which such obstacles will be tackled. They also have yet to apply for a cidery licence. The idea is to start small with an

emphasis on quality and to sell it off- farm. They’d like to minimize the use of supplemental labour and do as much as possible themselves. For other orchardists considering

entering the world of cider, she has some recommendations. While there is a huge demand for

cider apples over the border, it is important to do some research and get a contract with a cidery for them before grafting over or planting cider varieties of apples, she advises. Research rootstocks, she adds. The

bigger the rootstock seems to be better, she says, but because they're still new to it, that's not proven yet. Making cider from dessert varieties

of apples results in a less flavourful drink, so it’s highly recommended that some of the bitter or sharp-flavoured varieties are blended with regular dessert apples. Above all, it is hard work that can be

daunting, but an important ingredient is passion, something this family has for what they do.

Tuesday tastings turned into serious venture

The name recognizes the cider company’s origin. For many years, Bob Thompson, Ron Vollo


and Tom Kinvig gathered every Tuesday to sample Kinvig’s cider. “It was variable,” Thompson recalled with a

wry smile. Ten years ago, the three experienced Summerland fruit growers began propagating wood from European apple cider varieties. “We wanted to produce a European-style cider

using bittersweet and sharp cider apples,” said Thompson, who took several cider courses offered by Washington State University.


he Summerland Heritage Cider Company launched its flagship blend, Tuesday’s Original, this past August.

In general cider apple varieties require the

same horticultural techniques as dessert apples. However, they tend to be biennial and the small fruit easily drops off the tree. “The response to Tuesday’s Original has been good,” said Kinvig, who is in charge of sales and marketing. Close to half of the initial run of 5,500 bottles

has been sold. Additional blends will be released in coming

years as production is increased. Tuesday’s Original is available in 750 bottles directly from Kinvig and at several Okanagan cold beer and wine stores. It is served by the glass at the Gasthaus in Peachland and Zia’s in Summerland.

—Susan McIver British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Winter 2012-13

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