Apples just might be the coolest fruit in the world. Not only are they tasty, they have an unusual property where seedlings don't look too much like they're parents. To put it another way, every time a new apple tree grows from seed, it makes an entirely new combination of traits, not only size and color and pattern, but aroma and flavor and acidity and tannins. Where wild apple trees grow, like in the Hudson Valley, not only are there many thousands of apple trees, there are many thousands of different kinds of apples! It's like the lottery: every time a seedling grows, it's a genetic roll of the dice that might come out sour or bitter or brilliant.
But wait, you say, if an apple tree doesn't grow true-to-seed, how do you make more apples of the same kind? Like honeycrisps?
Astute question. The answer is that varietals of apples are propagated through grafting, where you take the cutting from one tree of the variety that you want more of, and carefully attach it to the roots of another tree.
We make our cider through a combination of propagated, orchard varieties, blended with wild seedling apples we pick ourselves. Orchard apples offer a balanced structure, providing the necessary pH and alcohol-content to make a good, stable cider. Wild apples bring a depth and complexity through a sometimes unpredictable mix of bitterness, acids, tannins, ethers, esters, and terepenes.