Cider is becoming kind of a big deal in Toronto and interest continues to grow. Not only do we have a whole bar dedicated to the stuff in Her Father's Cider Bar and Kitchen, we also have many other bars that make it easy to get our hands on the apple or other fruit-based beverage. In other words, cider is likely here to stay in Toronto and we’re very lucky to have so much of the good stuff produced locally. If you’re curious as to how cider gets produced, or just want to get up close and personal to a cidery (or winery that also produces cider) to see what goes on there for yourself or just pick up a few bottles. Here are 10 cideries to visit near Toronto.
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery, located in the Caledon Hills, produces award-winning ciders – but that’s not all. The environmentally-friendly property is also a bakery, kitchen and farm store. Stop by on a weekend for a guided tour (2 p.m.) to learn more about their process and facilities as well as to taste some ciders, and then pop into the farm store to shop local products. And don’t leave without stocking up on a few handcrafted breads baked in a wood-fired oven.
Applewood Farm Winery
This family-run winery in Stouffville focuses mainly on fruit wines, but they also produce cider. It’s one of those places that you go and realize as soon as you get there that you can spend an entire autumn afternoon. In addition to their wine collection, you can find the Hopped Amber Cider. This one is dry and made with local apples and blended with hops. Applewood also makes an award-winning iced cider, which is a sweet wine made in a similar fashion to iced wine. In addition to shopping for wine and cider, Applewood also offers apple and strawberry picking in season as well as a corn maze and a petting zoo.
Archibald Estate Winery
Archibald's Estate Winery in Bowmanville is another winery that also produces cider. Their Hard Cider is a medium cider made with McIntosh Apples and Ida Red Apples, the Hard Core Dry Cider is extra dry and made with Ida Red apples, the Hard Currant Cider is made with a blend of Ontario black currants and McIntosh apples, while the Hard Raspberry Cider is a tasty mix of Ontario apples and raspberries. All of Archibald’s ciders are made with apples they grow on their orchard and pressed, fermented and bottled on site. They also have apple picking in season and offer group tours of the facility.
Bains Road Cider Co.
In addition to growing a selection of heritage apples, Bains Road Cider Co. also grows several other fruits including pears, black currants, blackberries and also uses excess fruits from neighbouring farms to make their ciders and fruits wines. Ciders up for grabs include Strawberry Cider, Wild Pear Cider and their signature Lionheart Cider made with 100 percent Ontario apples.
County Cider Company
Get yourself to pretty Prince Edward County to see what’s going on at County Cider Company, who have been making cider since 1995. Ciders here, which include Waupoos and County Premium Cider, are made with apples grown on site as well as those grown on nearby farms. County Cider Company also has a restaurant you can stop in at for a bite to eat if you’re visiting and they offer group tours for $5 per person, which includes a tutored tasting of four ciders.
Beaver Valley Cidery
Beaver Valley Cidery in the heart of the Beaver Valley grows several varieties of apples on their eight-acre orchard, all traditionally used for making cider. They produce several varieties, including their Flagship Cider, which is dry, unfiltered and unpasteurized. In addition, you can find a Bumbleberry Cider, Ginger Cider, Dry Pear Cider and Cranberry Cider. The cidery offers free tours on Sundays at noon where you can learn about the cider-making process. Cider samples are also free, or you can order a glass ($5) and pair it with a cheese tray ($16, serves two).
Sunnybrook Wine Co. in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake produces a large selection of fruit wines, including pear, cranberry, peach, spiced apple and raspberry to name a few. But the winery also produces Ironwood Cider, made from eight varieties of 100 percent Ontario heritage apples. In addition to their flagship dry cider The Original, they also produce several other varieties of cider. The name Ironwood is taken from the hard wood tree of the same name, known for being the hardest and most resilient wood in Canada.
Hoity Toity Cellars
Despite the name, Hoity Toity Cellars pride themselves not on being fancy, but on producing a great product made from local apples, pears and grapes. Located in Bruce County, this is the place to find some award-winning ciders, including 66 Pickup made with all locally-grown apples, Sweet Tux made with locally-grown pears and 3 in the Tree made from a combination of apples, pears and grapes. Hoity Toity Cellars offers three different tours of varying lengths where you can learn about the wine and cider production process and taste some of the product.
Heritage Estate Winery & Cidery
The family-owned orchard that produces Heritage Estate’s ciders is located in Barrie, just a couple of hours north of Toronto. Ciders produced here include the dry Dragon’s Gold and the off-dry Eden’s Apple. You can stop by the newly-opened facility for an informative tour about the cider-making process or to enjoy a cold glass of cider.
Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery
Located along the northern end of the Niagara Escarpment, Coffin Ridge is a winery first, but they do produce a dry cider that goes by the name of Forbidden Dry Cider, which they started producing in 2008. They’ve since expanded their cider program to also include limited and special edition ciders that change with the seasons. Stop by for a free tasting, which includes three wines and/or ciders, and although there’s no restaurant on site you can order their vinter’s plate, which includes cheeses, breads and local fruits.