Hi, Ted Weber here. Thanks for checking out my cider site. I am the sole owner, orchard steward, harvester, processor, maker, bottler, sales rep and cellar rat of Tin Hat Cider.
This cider journey began in Warren, Vermont in 2013. Prior to that I had worked as a full-time musician for over a decade (mostly with NY based The Wiyos), but apples have been a keen interest of mine for about 20 years, particularly wild apples.
All ciders are made with unsprayed apples grown in central Vermont, and fermented in my cellar facility in Roxbury, Vermont. I sell wholesale in VT, retail at special events/farmers markets and now shipping online to 41 States.
fruit: heirlooms, modern, cider and wild
Since 2013, I have been stewarding over 200 full-size standard trees (planted in the early 1990's) at Mountain Valley Farm in Waitsfield, VT. It has been a great privilege to tend this orchard, owned by Gib and Sue Geiger. More than 50% of the fruit I use for Tin Hat Cider comes from this orchard. There are over 45 varieties, not including wild seedlings also growing within the rows. Among the standouts are: Golden Russet, Kerr Crab, Dolgo Crab, Northwest Greening, Cortland, Roxbury Russet, Esopus Spitzenburg, Red Mac, Lodi, Liberty, Red Astrachan, Honey Gold, Connel Red, Northern Spy, Dudley, Spartan, Wolf River and numerous other oddities like Tetousky, Sharon and Scott Winter.
Also coming into production is my own small experimental orchard in Roxbury, VT. Here there are local wild varieties featured in my Woodshed Series ciders and some regionally local wild seedlings from other forward thinking fruit explorers. Also grafted are some of the usual french and english cider varieties grafted to MM111, Bud 118, G11 and seedling rootstock (Dabinette, Kingston Black, Nehou, Porters Perfection, etc.). The remaining portion of fruit I use each fall is wild foraged from minimally managed farm land or truly wild field edge habitats, where apples thrive.
All fruit is pressed on a traditional rack and cloth press. Some astringent varieties are macerated in open air for 12-24 hours. Fresh pressed cider is typically allowed to spontaneously ferment on its own wild yeast in wooden barrels, wine tanks or glass demijohns. Some batches are fermented on cultured yeasts. Minimal or no sulfites are used. Most blends are barrel aged in neutral oak barrels for 3-18 months. I take great care in post fermentation blending, so technically, each bottling is not a single tank "batch", it is a blend from different vessels.
My entire fermentation, racking and aging process takes about 8-14 months before bottling, and then the cider ages in bottles for an additional 4-12 months before I begin selling.
Ethos: applied organic and permaculture techniques
Respect the land, cultivate good soil and biodiversity. Find ways to work with nature, not oppress it. Focus on making cider in the orchard more than in the cellar. Continue ongoing research of local wild apples. Share the results. These are my basic guiding principles.