Two Weekend Events on VA Cider Trail

Apples abound this weekend at exciting harvest events taking place at two stops on the Virginia Cider Trail. If you’re looking for a fun family weekend event, there’s no need to look any further than these two appealing harvest festivals. Read on to learn where to go, when to be there, and what will be happening!

22nd Annual Apple Harvest Festival with Albemarle Ciderworks

Date & Time: November 5 starting at 10am

Join Albemarle Ciderworrks for one of the most anticipated festivals of autumn, the Apple Harvest Festival hosted by the CoveGarden Ruritans and Albemarle CiderWorks!

Find farmers’ market vendors, meet local artisans, and craftsmen demonstrating their skills. Enjoy Brunswick stew and apple butter or grab some to go. Dig your teeth into a variety of apples and taste an array of Albemarle CiderWorks’ fine sparkling ciders. Dance the afternoon away with live music from local bands, and take a hayride around the mountain.

Apple Harvest Festival and Makers Market at Sage Bird Ciderworks

Date & Time: November 5 starting at 11am

Join Sage Bird Ciderworks to celebrate their favorite things: apples and fall!

Cider pressing, heirloom and cider apple tasting with Glaize Orchards, a cider release, mulled cider and cider donuts, food trucks, local makers and crafters, and live music will light up the festivities all day Saturday.

Virginia Cider Trail Fall Events

Fall has officially arrived and apple harvest season is in full swing across Virginia! To celebrate, cidermakers across the state are hosting harvest festivals, pressing parties and cider release events.  They would like to invite you to join in their celebrations of the cidermaking season with orchard parties and more. Check out the list below to find a fun event in your neck of the woods or one further afield if you’re looking for a fall weekend getaway!

We hope you’ll take the time to visit one or more of these fantastic fall events and learn more about Virginia apples and the ciders made from them. And don’t forget to check in on your Virginia Cider Trail Passport for a chance to earn prizes!

Third Exam of 2022 Welcomes Eight New Certified Pommeliers™

The American Cider Association announced on September 15, 2022 that they awarded eight new beverage professionals with the esteemed title of Certified Pommelier™. The new cohort passed the required exam on August 18 at the Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House in Walden, New York. The new Certified Pommeliers™ are from New York, Virginia, North Carolina and Russia. From New York are Elissa Booth, Joe Gaynor, and Matt Wynkoop of Angry Orchard; Paige Flori of Boutique Wines, Spirits and Cider; Meredith Collins of the blog Along Came A Cider,; and currently residing in New York–cider enthusiast Marina Borsalina from Russia. From Virginia is Joshua Corl of Back Bay’s Farmhouse Brewery, and from North Carolina is cider enthusiast Adam Snyder.

Cider is a beautifully nuanced beverage with a diverse set of elements that are often misunderstood by food and beverage professionals. Certifications are increasingly used in the professional realm to set oneself apart as an individual with specialized knowledge, though cider is often covered in a cursory manner by most certification programs, if at all.

“At the center of what we do at Angry Orchard is innovation, and education is at its core. We were thrilled to host a Certified Pommelier™ exam on the East coast and give more industry members the opportunity to advance their education,” says Will Loughlin, Certified Pommelier™ and Assistant Cidermaker at the Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House. “We see the Pommelier certification as an excellent tool to highlight exceptional individuals, as well as the cider industry as a whole. We’re thrilled to see interest in the exam growing and gaining more standing alongside wine and beer programs.”

The American Cider Association established its Certified Cider Professional (CCP) program in 2016 to educate those on the front-line of cider sales. The program began with a Level 1 certification to help those in the  industry develop a fundamental understanding of cider. Recently, the ACA was pleased to celebrate 2000 Certified Cider Professionals

The Certified Pommelier™ certification was developed to move beyond a fundamental understanding and to encourage cider professionals to think critically while demonstrating a higher understanding of the elements of cider. The rigorous test consists of five types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, essay and blind sensory (based on tasting). 

“The Certified Pommelier™ exam is designed to be challenging, ” says Michelle McGrath, Executive Director of the ACA. “However, accessibility remains important. We’re rolling out more and more study aids in 2022, with a book on the horizon.” 

The next Certified Pommelier™ exam is planned for February 1, 2023 at CiderCon® 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. You can learn more and register for the exam at CiderCon® 2023 on the ACA website.

The ACA asks that you contact Cider Education Outreach Manager Jennie Dorsey if you have questions about the program or are interested in taking either the Level 1 Certified Cider Professional test or the Certified Pommelier™ exam. You can also learn more at


ACA Celebrates 2000 Certified Cider Professionals

Cider can be a misunderstood beverage and with its increasing popularity in the United States the American Cider Association felt it was vital to create an education based program that would help those who work on the front line of cider sales speak in a knowledgeable manner about the ciders they’re selling, serving, and supporting. Thus, in 2016 the American Cider Association founded the Certified Cider Professional program (CCP) to educate those in retail and trade about cider. The success of the program is in the numbers. In just six years, 2000 people have become Certified Cider Professionals.

“We couldn’t be more delighted that 2000 have chosen to become Certified Cider Professionals,” says ACA Executive Director Michelle McGrath, “Reaching tastemakers and influencers is part of our broader strategy to increase cider sales and we look forward to watching the ranks of Certified Cider Professionals continue to grow.”

The ACA has continued to improve the CCP program since its inception and now offers a bundle package for those interested in becoming Certified Cider Professionals. The bundle includes a full study guide, an on-demand webinar, and access to the online 60 question exam. There are bulk discounts available for those wishing to get their staff certified and discounted pricing available to ACA members.

In addition, the ACA has developed a second tier Certified Pommelier™ designation. Certified Pommeliers™ must have a fundamental understanding of all topics covered in CCP Level 1, but must also be able to think critically and use the basics to demonstrate a higher understanding of the elements of cider. In order to become a Certified Pommelier™ candidates must sit for an in person exam that consists of five types of questions: short answer, fill in the blank, matching, essay and blind sensory (based on tasting). So far, 38 people have passed the rigorous exam and you can get to know them on the Certified Pommelier™ page.

To learn more about the Certified Cider Professional program you can head to the Certification page of the ACA website. For more information about the program, bulk discounts, and member discounts contact Cider Education Outreach Manager Jennie Dorsey.

CiderCon® 2022 Select Synced Audio Presentations Available to Members

The American Cider Association is please to share that we have six synced audio presentations from CiderCon® 2022 held in February in Richmond, Virginia to share with members. If you missed the presentations or were unable to attend CiderCon® this year, now is your chance to do a little catch-up.

These synced presentations can be found in our Membership Portal, as well as presentation notes from many of the sessions held at CiderCon® 2022. You must be a member to access this information and you will be prompted to login to view the presentations.

Cider Cocktails created by Jennie Dorsey

Grapefruit & Sage Cidermosa

Fill glass 3/4 with your favorite dry acid forward sparkling cider

Shake and strain on top:

2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice

1 oz. sage infused simple syrup

3 dashes bitters

Garnish with grapefruit and sage

Red Berry Refresher

Shake and strain over fresh ice:

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1 Tbsp strawberry jam

Fill glass with a dry raspberry cider

Garnish with a strawberry and a lemon twist

Earl of Orange

Build over ice:

2 oz. cooled Earl Grey tea

1 oz. zero proof triple sec

1 oz fresh orange juice

Top with favorite barrel aged cider

Garnish with an orange and thyme

ACA Members Raise Over $7000 for Berryland Cidery

The American Cider Association is pleased to announce that events hosted by ACA members raised over $7000 to help support the efforts of Berryland Cidery to rebuild. 

Berryland Cidery is an award-winning Ukrainian cidery, fruit winery and meadery located near Kyiv. In March 2022 Berryland was bombed beyond recognition by Russian troops. Berryland’s owner and cidermaker Vitalli Karvyha is committed to rebuilding. To support Vitalli, cideries and cider industry friends across the United States held events to raise funds to help. 

Events were held by Press then Press LLC, Slyboro Ciderhouse, Meriwether Cider, Courthouse Creek Cidery, Liberty Ciderworks, OK Cider Co., Blue Bee Cider, Houston Cider Company, Keepsake Cidery, Ash & Elm Cider Co., Spring Hill Cider Works, Eden Specialty Ciders, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Lassen Traditional Cider, Space Time Mead & Cider Works, Seattle Cider Company, and Cider Summit

“We were delighted with the number of events held across the United States to help Vitalli rebuild Berryland,” stated Michelle McGrath, Executive Director of the American Cider Association. “It really shows the camaraderie amongst people in the cider industry, not just here in the United States, but around the world.”

Individuals wishing to support Vitalli in his effort to rebuild Berryland Cider can contribute to this GoFundMe campaign.

Additional Ways to Help Ukraine

Polish cidery Kwasne Jablko has multiple relief efforts underway both in Poland and in Ukraine. Currently, owner Marcin Wiechowski purchased a sprinter van and has organized deliveries of humanitarian supplies. Each week, they buy what is needed and volunteer drivers make the run into Ukraine to deliver them where they are needed.

In addition, Kwasne Jablko is currently supporting 70 refugees. 12 of the refugees are living on their cider farm, while the cidery has rented flats and houses for the others. They assist in job searches, support them financially, and assist in everyday problems that arise. 

After hearing about the work Kwasne Jablko has been doing, Eleanor Leger, ACA Board President and owner of Eden Ciders made the decision to begin collecting money to send to Marcin to help him with purchasing and transport. He has set up a special account for the aid work he is doing. If anyone is interested in contributing, please contact Eleanor at for more information and details on how you can help.