Typically lauded for its wine, the Niagara Peninsula also produces some of the best hard ciders in the country. Photo credit: Facebook/Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery
As summer comes to a close, fall activities and events are beginning to ramp up around Niagara.
One fall festive activity is to partake in a glass of hard cider — something which is easy to do in Niagara, as there are plenty of craft cideries made with locally grown apples.
According to the Ontario Craft Cider Association, cider was the first alcoholic beverage produced by settlers on the East Coast of North America. These early settlers planted apple orchards then fermented the apple juice to produce cider. Apples were a vital crop, not necessarily for food, but rather for its use as a safe beverage that could be consumed at a time when clean drinking water was scarce.
Today, the Ontario Craft Cider Association states that craft cider is now the fastest growing category of alcoholic beverage production in North America.
Here are some local Niagara-made craft cider options to explore as we head into the fall season:
The Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake campus began producing their first cider, Cider 101, in 2015. The cider is described as “straightforward…sweet and easy drinking” made with a blend of apple juices.
The cider produced by NC Teaching Winery has even gained international recognition, winning a gold for their Cidre Fermier (farmhouse cider) – heritage cider category, and a bronze for Cider 101 – modern cider/sweet category at the 2022 U.S. Open Cider Championship.
Ironwood Cider House is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, offering an array of craft ciders from their dry original cider, The OG, to unique blends like their sweet Pink Lemonade Cider.
The Cider House is open daily, offering wine cocktails and a seasonal tapas menu in addition to the 10+ ciders on draft.
Ravine Vineyard and Estate Winery is family owned and operated in St. David’s. The rich history of this estate goes back 150 years and five generations — first named Upper Lowery Farm — established by David Jackson Lowery in 1867.
Although known for its wines, Ravine also produces ciders named after the canning business once operated by the family from the 1950’s until 2001. Lowery Apple Cider is a dry hard cider made entirely from pressed Niagara apples.