Getting to the Core of Flavor in American Ciders

Speakers: Jacob Lahne, Amanda Stewart

Date & Time: Thursday, February 3, 1:45-3:00pm

As US cidermaking has expanded in recent years, a focus on flavor quality has been a constant, unresolved theme in the industry. What are the various and interacting impacts of (among others) apple variety and blending, orcharding practices, fermentation and processing methods, and even marketing and sensory communication on the ultimate flavor of the cider as perceived by the consumer? While there has been little research-based information available on these topics, recently several research groups from Virginia Tech have been working to investigate these questions. In this session, researchers from these groups will present results from their work. Among the topics presented will be research on microbial diversity and its impact on cider flavor, both at the orchard level and at the
fermentation level; the impacts of yeast variety selection and nutrition on cider quality; new sensory profiling work for ciders produced in the Eastern United States; and consumer- and producer-focused qualitative research on how communication about these and other aspects of cider quality affects the cider consumption and purchasing experience. Overall, this session will provide a window into the most recent research addressing the origins and impact of flavor in cidermaking through a number of different research approaches.