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The Cider Cellar

12.21.12

Cellar Full of Cider

Once upon a time, I built a wine cellar. In order to make decent wine from the grape vines in my back yard, I was advised to practice on other fruit. I practiced on apples. Now my wine cellar’s really a cider cellar. Perhaps cider/charcuterie cellar would be most appropriate. If I call it a wine cellar, it’s only because I’m lying or getting old and am forgetting what is in fact stashed down there. It’s cider. Apple ciders of various blends/batches. Pear ciders of various blends/batches. A couple types of Pommeau [an apple and apple brandy desert wine]. And if you look hard through the bins, you will find some actual grape-based wine. If you were to turn around from this view of the west wall of bins, you’d see kegs. Full of bubbly cider. Awaiting an epic party. Above them hangs odds and sods of dry cured meats. Refreshing that meat stash is on my to-do list.

Edmonton is an apple [and pear] city, and we just haven’t figured it out yet. Maybe I’m reading too much into things or it’s just the circles I spin in, but cider seems to be slowly creeping into our psyche. Maybe it’s just me. I’m starting to think ‘coq au cidre’ instead of ‘coq au vin’. Starting to pair every pork dish with some kind of apple booze. Give me cheese, I now think ‘pear cider’ instead of ‘pinot gris’ [which I still love, btw]. Is part of it frugality? Partly, especially indirectly in that it’s so abundant that dumping a litre into a braise doesn’t phase me, whereas dumping a $20 bottle into the dish does. As a result it creeps into your daily life. But there is also a dominant thread of simple beauty around the harnessing of what ‘where we live’ offers. I don’t think that bit will ever get old.

Cellar full of Cider

9 Responses

  1. Alan says:

    Love it. I wish I would do more with the apples and pears I have. I have and abundance of great wines from both my vineyard and others. Maybe we should trade. Love your posts and KTV awesome and inspiring. Happy Holidays to you and yours from a map dot called Graton Ca. In the heart of Pinot Noir Country.

  2. This is on my project list. In the spring I’ll be turning the frame of a high tunnel into a grape arbor. I haven’t chosen my varieties yet but some will be for wine. I have peach, plum, apricot and pear trees planted (only apples produce so far) and will experiment with those, too. My step-mom makes a fantastic but knock you on your butt wild blackberry wine.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Sherri says:

    So inspiring, Kevin. We’ve got several apple trees now and we also manage to get loads of apples (and other fruit) through freecycle each year (people who can’t use all their harvest/don’t want to pick). I know you’re a big fan of Operation Fruit Rescue – so cool.

    What varieties of grape are you growing? I tried a few varieties 2 years ago and they all died over winter. We live in the country and it’s at least 8 degrees colder here. Clearly, we need hardier varieties (if such a thing exists) and I’m also going to try to create a more sheltered location this year…

    Really want to get into cider/wine production – couldn’t take your workshop in the Fall (schedule issue) but will do it this year… One can read plenty on the topic, but nothing beats SEEING how it’s done. I want a cellar like that, LOL!

  4. Chantelle says:

    Happy Holidays to you and yours Kevin, I love your cider cellar and hope mine turns out as good as yours. We have a small commercial orchard 15 minutes from home and we also have a wee orchard of our own that we are waiting to mature a little…looking forward to some apple and pear, home made booze:)

    P.S. I was so inspired by your video last year in the cellar when you made slaw, sliced some charcuterie and poured some cider that I bought my own books on charcuterie and cheese making….let;s hope for a tasty 2013! Cheers.

  5. Kevin says:

    Thanks for all the kinds words folks – really appreciate you taking the time to share/weigh in.
    Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. Mine will be full of cider. ;)

  6. Holy cow! That is the biggest stash you have ever had, isn’t it? I got a taste of a pear apple cider or juice and was simply blown away – on one cold October day when I was over. That sense of satisfaction you so aptly describe is such a deep primordial ah-ha, isn’t it? Nothing like it, but few young people have experienced it, yet. I think it is what motivates such hard work year after year. That, and the taste. OH my!
    XO
    V

  7. Lisa Zieminek says:

    I’ll come to that epic party. You just let me know when :)

  8. Adam Stevens says:

    Thanks again for the inspiration Kevin! I’ve got my firs 1.5g of apple wine bottled and waiting, and now I’ve begun a 5g batch of hard cider. Thanks for the help. I’m thinking of letting it go to 1.000 and then bringing it back to 1.005 with honey. Do ya think that would fly?

  9. awww, I was hoping for a video tour of the cellar

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