Rider Ranch Ciderworks

Rider Ranch Ciderworks is a small family farm making craft hard cider in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  As a husband and wife team, our cider making journey first began as a grassroots project in urban sustainability and small-scale permaculture. It soon became clear that what began as a novice exploration into micro-farming, was growing into something larger. And, after winning a silver medal in a popular Northern California cider competition, we decided it was time to share our cider with others. By November of 2014, we found our dream on an old orchard nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

We packed up our family and began our adventure — Revitalizing our own historic mountain homestead, a 14 acre property that sits along an old stagecoach route in a place the Native Ohlone called, the “Howling Wilderness.”

Our first project was to rehabilitate the original orchard by removing volunteer oaks, bay laurels, and hand-pulling over 1500 pounds of invasive poison oak, whose overgrowth had threatened the orchard. We then carefully selected and planted heirloom varieties of English and American cider apples — strains that are not available in our local apple growing community, and, which would lend special characteristics to our cider.

We believe in a completely dry, well aged cider much like a fine wine or brandy.  Our Smoked and Oaked Pippin is made from local, organic, dry farmed apples delicately smoked and then aged with french oak.  The result is a robust cider with flavors of sweet tobacco and vanilla.  We look forward to sharing our hard work with you.


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