Cider Corner: Some Benefits of a Winery Partnership

Can cider do enough to intrigue a wine drinker’s palate?

Out in Los Angeles, Benny Boy Brewing sought to answer that question by collaborating with Pali Wine Co. on two co-ferments. The first, Harvest Handshake, is a 7.6% ABV Dry Rosé Cider fermented on Pali’s Pinot Noir grape skins for three months. The second, Chardonapple, is what it sounds like: a sparkling apple-grape wine that’s equal parts Chardonnay and Newtown Pippin apples.

“Cider is actually a wine —apple wine — and just the fact that it’s 100% fruit based often is enough to appeal to a wine drinker,” Benny Boy co-founder Benny Farber said. “Many wine drinkers have the misconception that cider is ultra-sweet, but our dry ciders have zero residual sugar and drink very much like a low-ABV sparkling white wine with an apple-forward flavor profile.”

Co-founder Chelsey Rosetter said the co-fermentation endeavor benefited both parties.

“We loved partnering with Pali Wine Co. for our two co-ferments because we get access to premium fruits we otherwise would not be able to,” Rosetter said. “For these two co-ferments, we got incredible Pinot Noir skins for the Rosé cider, and Pali got our premium Newtown Pippin apple juice for a Grape-Apple Wine blend.

“Beyond the fruit, we are able to co-brand these products and reach larger audiences than we would on our own. Cider and beer lovers of Benny Boy got to dip their toes into the wine world, and wine-lovers of Pali got to get what was perhaps their first experience with cider.”

Benny Boy has taken an active role in educating its audience about the relationship between cider and wine.

“We have even hosted an educational event with Pali about this very topic,” Farber said. “Pali’s winemaker and I walked guests through a curated flight of one cider, two apple/grape co-ferments, and one wine to dive deeper into the relationship between the two beverages. It was a hit, and really opened peoples’ eyes up to the similarities between cider and wine.”

Cider is multifaceted enough to take wine’s place at the dinner table, Farber noted. Plus, for those looking for a lower ABV complement to their meal, cider has about half the alcohol concentration of wine.

“Cider can be every bit as complex as wine, and like wine, tannins and acidity play huge roles in cider,” Farber said. ”Because of that, cider pairs very well with food and is an excellent choice for the dinner table.” 

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