We, the Maloney family—Terry, Judith, and Field—began making hard cider commercially in 1984. We’d been making cider for ourselves and friends for years before that. We moved to rural Western Massachusetts from Northern California in 1972, bang into Apple Country. Though we didn’t find grapes for our year’s supply of wine, instead we found a living, pleasurable tradition. Our neighbors had been fermenting for generations, using their own apples and those they gleaned from nearby favorite trees. We started doing the same, but applied California winemaking techniques to this seasonal Yankee tradition.
We were impressed by the variety and complexity of ciders that could be made from differing blends of apples and cellaring techniques. We decided that cider—a beverage long forgotten except in hill counties and countries—deserved another chance. There was no commercial market for cider: for most it was unknown, for some a distant memory. We fermented our first vintage for sale in ’84, becoming the first U.S. winery to specialize in hard cider.
For 30 years now we have made cider. Pine Hill Orchards in our town presses our fruit. We grow five acres of cider apples. Starting with 100 cases in 1984, we made more than 2000 last year. We still ferment and bottle our ciders in the cellar of our farmhouse—we are still small. But we are proud of how widely our ciders are celebrated.
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