Champlain Orchards, 3597 Vermont 74, Shoreham, VT 05770
The basic course cost is $700.
This course will have a few formal lectures, but most of the learning will occur outside or in a lab setting. The first day will include an overview of orchard management and heirloom and cider apple varieties by touring orchards with their managers. Students will be testing apples to determine ripeness and sample a wide variety of heirloom apples. The class will visit Windfall Orchard, which grows over 80 heirloom apples, at a point in the apple season where both the early and late varieties will be available for tasting. The day will end at a pick-your-own orchard where each student will pick a variety of apples to create the blend of flavors they wish to create in their cider.
During the second day students will be creating individual sweet ciders with a historic apple grinder and press restored to operating condition by Carl Powden, who has made home hard cider for many years. The day will end with a home-cooked meal and cider related discussion topics at Carl’s home, including the production of ice cider. The third day of the course will focus on fermentation science, yeasts, and how to monitor fermentation at home.
The last day of the course will be two weeks later (October 4th) where each student’s cider will be sampled and discussed and the basics of bottling, including the process for still and sparkling ciders, will be explained and demonstrated. For students who cannot attend the last day a videotape or a remote video connection will be available for them to connect. The course will end with a sensory session examining a variety of commercial hard ciders and ice ciders to understand the quality and variety of tastes in hard ciders.