CastleHillCideryKeswick, Virginia: Castle Hill Cider recently received Gold Medal recognition in the 2018 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition for Serendipity 2016. Gold Medals are awarded to Outstanding/Classic products with an average of 90-100 points after the judges’ multi-round evaluations. Over a four-week period, Jay Youmans – one of only 45 Masters of Wine (MW) in the U.S., and his team of judges, consider appearance, aroma, flavor, overall quality, and commercial suitability in their scoring.

castlehillciderNow in its 36th year, the competition was revamped in 2012 to become one of the most stringent and thorough wine, and cider competitions in the country. This is the first year that any Virginia cider has been recognized with a gold medal.

Serendipity 2016 is an approachable, flavor dense, fruit-forward cider. This vintage features a blend of Albemarle Pippin and Gold Rush apples fermented with two yeast strains. Arresting fermentation before all the sugar is converted to alcohol produces a freshness and fullness of fruit flavors and aromas that sweetening with sugar or juice can’t match. While conceptually simple, it has actually been a technological challenge to stop the fermentation and clarify the cider. We arrest fermentation with just enough residual sugar (~2%) to enhance the floral, citrus, and pear notes without the masking of subtleties that would occur at higher levels. This bit of sweetness is well balanced with crisp acidity.

About Castle Hill Cider:
Castle Hill Cider grows over 30 cider-specific apple varieties on 10 acres of orchard, and produces a range of award-winning fine ciders from estate fruit and apples from area growers. The cidery is nestled on 600 acres against the Southwest Mountains in the picturesque Virginia countryside, and was once part of the historic Castle Hill estate founded by Thomas Walker, guardian and mentor to Thomas Jefferson. In addition to apple growing and cider production, the facility also functions as an event venue, hosting dozens of weddings and corporate events each year. The Tasting Room is open year-round and welcomes visitors for tastings, as well as flights, glass, and bottle sales. Details on Tasting Room hours, live music and other events, Cider Club membership, and online cider sales are available at Our ciders have appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek, and Esquire among other print and online publications.

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