Tree Fruit & Alternative Fruits W. Wash WSU Extension

Hard Cider

Cider Research at WSU NWREC

Variety Trials

A small collection of 12 different English and French cider apple varieties was planted in a preliminary trial from 1977 to 1998, evaluating only the trees’ potential productivity and disease resistance. In 1994 a larger, replicated planting was established, and expanded in 1999. New varieties from France and England were added in 2001–2002, and 2004–2006, including some old American cider varieties. Evaluation of these varieties includes:

  1. Juice analysis (°Brix, pH, malic acid, specific gravity, % tannin) of all varieties on trial with sufficient fruit for sampling
  2. Production and evaluation of ciders from 3–8 selected varieties per year.

Beginning In 2002, varietal ciders have been produced on-station using fruit from the trial, with the advice of an expert cider maker. The ciders are then sampled and evaluated for quality and marketability. The trial has included some 80 varieties in replicated plots and screening test plots. Result of the trial are included in annual Reports and in PNW 621 Hard Cider Production and Orchard Management in the Pacific Northwest

Cider apple varieties planted at Mount Vernon 1977–present


2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003

Bloom Data

Cider Apple Bloom Data 2000–2012

Cider Apple Bloom Data 1993–1999


Far From the Tree: Cider Tasting at WSU Mount Vernon (Skagit Valley Herald, November 2012)

Harvester Studied for Cider Apple (Goodfruit Grower, October 2012)

Cider is Cool, (Goodfruit Grower, October 2012)

Growing a Cider Culture (Goodfruit Grower, October 2012)

From Bin to Bottle (Goodfruit Grower, October 2012)

Federal Grants Reach Specialty Crops (Capital Press, January 2012)

Cider Research in the U.S.

Virginia Tech
Greg Peck is working on economic feasibility studies of hard cider orchards and cideries in Virginia, including surveys of existing hard cideries, with a goal of increasing the availability of hard cider apples and helping new and expanding cideries develop successful business plans for increased production of hard cider.

Greg Peck
Assistant Professor of Horticulture
Alson H. Smith, Jr. Agricultural Research & Extension Center
595 Laurel Grove Road
Winchester, VA 22602
540-869-2500 ext 19
Feasibility Study for a Small Farm Cidery in Nelson County, VA.

Cornell University

Olga Padilla-Zakour is a specialist in fermentations. Cornell has a history of research in wine fermentation and she is a participant in the resurgence of interest in apple juice fermentation.

Olga Padilla-Zakour
Associate Professor, Food Science & Technology
Kennedy Hall, Room Box 15
630 W. North Street
Geneva, NY 14456

Michigan State University
Nikki Rothwell is researching cider Varieties suitable for northern climates, based on trials of a few specimens of cider fruit existing in the research station’s collection.

Nikki Rothwell
Michigan State Horticultural Research Center
6686 S. Center Highway
Traverse City, MI 49684

University of Vermont
Terry Bradshaw is in charge of the Horticulture Research Center, 97 acres of plantings including trees, shrubs, apples, and small fruit. Ongoing research is being conducted on organic and IPM apple production systems.

Terry Bradshaw, Assistant Director
University of Vermont Horticultural Research Center
65 Green Mountain Drive
South Burlington, Vermont

Cider Associations & Groups

The Northwest Cider Association is a group of cider makers and orchardists from western Washington, Oregon and British Columbia who have organized to promote the production and appreciation of hard (fermented) cider.

The Northwest Agriculture Business Center continues to sponsor Cider School Classes, offered since 2003 in collaboration with Peter Mitchell, an internationally known expert in hard cider and perry production from Worcester, England.

United States Association of Cider Makers was organized February 2013 to gather and share information about cider production, and to promote wider interest in cider and perry in the United States

9th Annual Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition, March 23, 2014 – Results 

8th Annual Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition, March 24, 2013 – Results

Rocky Mountain Cider Association is an organization of commercial producers of cider and perry in the Rocky Mountain region: Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association members include both commercial and non-commercial cider producers, as well as affiliate members located outside the region.

Vermont Ice Cider Association is a group of artisanal producers committed to making Ice Cider in the Quebecois tradition suited to northern climates.

Beer Judge Certification Program lists style guidelines for judging cider and perry.


Dave’s Old Time Cider (David White)

Serious Eats: Drinks – Cider

IAmCider (Bill Bradshaw)

Sources for information

Grafton, G. and P. Gunningham. 1990–2005. The New Real Cider and Perry Page. A very useful website with much detailed information on both cider and perry.

Cider apple varieties
Cider Making Guide

Blackburn-Maze, P. 1986. The Apple Book. Collingridge Books, Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd., Middlesex, England.

Copas, L. 2001 A Somerset Pomona: The Cider Apples of Somerset. The Dovecote Press Ltd., Dorset, England.

Lea, A. 2008. Craft Cider Making. The Good Life Press, Preston, England.

Morgan, J. and A. Richards. 1993. The Book of Apples. Ebury Press Ltd., London, England.

Proulx, A. and L. Nichols. 1997. Cider: Making, Using and Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider, 2nd edition. Storey Publishing, Pownal, VT.

Watson, B. 1999. Cider Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own. The Countryman Press, Woodstock, Vermont.

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