Small batches, big appeal: NC Teaching Winery introduces new cider series

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Cider 101 Single Batch Series is available at the Wine Visitor + Education Centre.

If Cider 101 has become the apple of your eye, don’t miss this new offering from the Niagara College Teaching Winery: small batch ciders.

The Teaching Winery has rolled out its Cider 101 Single Batch Series, offering a variety of unique ciders in assorted flavour profiles, hand-packaged in champagne-style bottles.

The new small batch series comes just two years after the Teaching Winery’s first venture into cider during the fall of 2015 with the release of Cider 101. Since then, the classic New World pub cider has won two consecutive gold medals at the U.S. Open Cider Championships in 2017 and 2016, as well as a bronze at the Ontario Cider Awards in 2016.

“We started making the cider in response to the growth of the craft cider industry in Ontario and because a lot of our wine and brew students were showing interest in hard cider production,” said winemaker Gavin Robertson. “We launched our Cider 101 Single Batch series after having had some really good success with our initial, core brand Cider 101 product over the last couple of years.”

Robertson noted that the Cider 101 Single Batch Series began as they began to experiment with barrel fermentation and aging. In some cases, fruits like cherries, peaches, plums and wine grapes were added. They also played with different hop treatments and bottle conditioning techniques. The single batch ciders are the end result of these trials.

Since they have become available in December, the series has released a Cherry Barrel-aged Cider – with Cabernet Franc grape skin fermented bottling which appears as a rose or pink cider – as well as a an Ancestral Method Northern Spy Cider and Cab – using a technique that involves bottling the batch during primary fermentation to capture the naturally occurring carbon dioxide bubbles from fermentation resulting in a completely dry cider style.

“The Ancestral Method Northern Spy is sold in bottle on its yeast lees, which mean that it’s cloudy, as is the case with many traditional British and French cider styles, which gives the cider body and complexity beyond the fruit base,” he said.

What’s next in line for the small batch releases?

Robertson noted that a strong, spicy,  wintry peach and apple cider, which spent 14 months in French and Hungarian oak barrels and  was fermented using Gewurztraminer wine yeast lees, will soon be released,  as well as a few more “fun, funky and engaging” batches that will be released closer to spring.

Cider 101 Single Batch Series is available in 750 ml bottles starting at $14.95 at the Wine Visitor + Education Centre. Visit niagaracollegewine.ca

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