We are in good company: Wine Enthusiast's 'The Women Leading American Cider Forward'

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The Women Leading American Cider Forward

by Shelby Vittek, for Wine Enthusiast

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Craft cider has grown exponentially over the past decade, and women are at the forefront of its evolution. Here are seven cidermakers to know.

From the beginning of the craft cider movement’s recent American revival, women have served prominent leadership roles as orchardists, cidermakers and agricultural researchers.

It turns out that cider drinkers are more gender balanced, too. According to Michelle McGrath, executive director of United States Association of Cider Makers, women account for nearly 50% of U.S. cider drinkers, as opposed to craft beer’s 31%.

A considerable number of cideries across the country are run by women. Located in proximity to wine regions like the Finger Lakes region of New YorkSonoma CountyWillamette Valley in Oregon and coastal Washington, these producers craft distinctive orchard-based ciders. Here are some of the women who are shaping the future of American cider….

THE PART ABOUT US….

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Melissa Madden, Kite & String

If you visit the Finger Lakes region’s Good Life Farm in Interlaken, New York, you might see Madden as she rides through orchards on a draft horse. Madden and her business partner, Garrett Miller, own the organic farm that houses the Finger Lakes Cider House as well as their cider brand, Kite & String, which they launched as Good Life Cider in 2013.

Kite & String has made waves with its sparkling ciders like Cazenovia. It’s a bone-dry, traditional-method cider made from varieties like Dabinett, Somerset Redstreak, Pound Sweet and Northern Spy.

The cidery often tests out different apples and methods. With an operation like this, the learning never stops, says Madden.

“Our farm is only 10 years old,” she says. “We don’t have orchardists in our families. It is not enough time to know anything.”

Madden is grateful for the close community of cider makers in the Finger Lakes, made up of people like Autumn Stoscheck who helped pave the way for women like herself. Now they’re both part of the same group of American cider makers that promote and recognize their peers, while simultaneously striving to advance the quality and craft of every cider they create.