“Be bold, tread lightly, make it happen”
Back in 1985, John Washburn bought a farm on the Rockfish River in Nelson County, Virginia, attracted by the trout river running through the property and the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding the farm. As years passed, nearby wineries began making names for themselves and award-winning microbreweries started to gain fame as the “Brew Ridge Trail.” The idea occurred to John that a cidery would bridge the gap between wine connoisseur and beer enthusiast. He imagined it in a big timber frame barn to compliment the area’s rural character and scenic beauty. An innovative tasting room with a floor to ceiling glass wall would allow full view of cider making activities. From its location atop a hill overlooking the Rockfish River, visitors would enjoy the beautiful rural and mountain views. This would be a “public house” in the original sense of the word - - a welcoming place for locals and visitors to “Drink in the scenery!” So, he had the land and he had the plan; now he needed to find the man (or woman!) with cider making expertise. Well, why not seek advice from the foremost cider expert in the world? Sure! No problem. Go to Gisborne, New Zealand to meet Brian Shanks. Now Brian had been an apple orchardist in New Zealand in the 1980’s and got into making cider after a cyclone did a number on his apple crop. From there he created a cider company at a time when hard cider was practically nonexistent in New Zealand. Over the years, Brian adapted technology and developed specialized techniques for improving quality and maintaining consistency in cider blends. Along the way his ciders kept winning awards. Eventually, one of the largest cider making companies in the world got wind of his success and asked him to be their Head of Innovation and lead a team of cider makers in Great Britain to improve and streamline their cider making operation. As an international cider consultant, Brian has helped companies in America, Europe, China and Australia. From their first meeting, John and Brian formed a friendship that led to a partnership with a BOLD shared vision to make a world-class cider right here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Visitors are welcome from 11am to 5pm daily at the current (temporary) cider barns for tastings, tours and hard cider to go. We have a deck and 50 acres of land where customers can bring a picnic basket and enjoy our ciders outdoors. Construction on the permanent cidery and tasting room on the hill will begin in 2013. Follow our progress. Yes, local apples are once again being crushed to make hard cider in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The rest, as they say, will be history.
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Bold Rock Cidery
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