Healdsburg, California’s Sonoma Ciders

Healdsburg, CA Sonoma Cider

We’re inundated with a lot of promises when it comes to the products that we eat and drink. Wholesome. Artisanal. Handcrafted. They begin to sound like mere marketing words, meaningless outside of the product angle they establish.

The same cannot be said for Healdsburg, California’s Sonoma Ciders though. Established in 2013, just two short years ago, by father and son David and Robert Cordtz who were passionate about placing their mark on the cider world. Sharing an infatuation with fruit and a resilient belief in their ability to innovate and revolutionize, the Cordtz family took their lifetime of experience and fused it with youthful, creative optimism.

The process sounds like something out of a storybook.

I had a chance to talk with David Cordtz, celebrated cider master and winemaker, about Sonoma Ciders, how things got started, what they’re trying and where they might be headed with future fermentation’s.

Question: A lot of businesses might say they’re all-America, but apples, iconoclastic thinking, fathers, and sons, it seems like you’re living that dream. Can you talk about that synergy?

DC: My son Robert has been working with me on and off since he started repairing labeling machines for me at age fourteen. Now that he is thirty years old, this was our first chance to “live the dream” as full partners together. The culmination of the cider category explosion and our joint experience in the beverage business has now come together as the Sonoma Cider brand.

Question: As an already celebrated wine and cider maker, what was the draw to starting over with Sonoma?

DC: “The category growth was a wake up call for Robert and me to get back into the game and launch a premium offering in an exciting category.”

Question: Talk about the challenges of high fruit standards.

DC: We did not want to make just any old cider. We wanted to make the best cider in America. All great beverages begin with the finest ingredients. In the case of Sonoma Cider, we source only the best organically certified apples from Sonoma County, and the world famous Yakima Valley in the state of Washington.

Under organic farming practices, the trees have to work harder to produce smaller, more flavorful apples which pass through into our finished ciders. Acid, aroma, flavor and fruit all conspire to bring our balanced full flavored ciders to every pint we make.

Question: Your first collaboration demonstrates quite a lot of diverse. Talk about the thinking and planning that went into your flagship cider run?

DC: Our flagship run includes our core trio, “The Hatchet” in which our Cider Master chose a unique blend of organic apples that resulted in a lively finish. With “The Pitchfork” we are blending organic apples with our proprietary pear flavor. And in “The Anvil” we are spiking organic apples with our proprietary organic bourbon flavor for a smooth, smoky Bourbon finish.

In creating this first series, we wanted to appeal to a wide variety of cider and wine enthusiasts alike. We were also striving to craft something unique, which “The Anvil” does with the bourbon flavor infusion.

Question: I’m especially curious about “The Washboard”. Sarsaparilla seems like a bold flavor experiment. Talk about this and maybe tease future combinations you’re dreaming up.

DC: Creativity and innovation are at the core of who we are here at Sonoma Cider. Robert has been tinkering since he was a little kid, and we both feel that one of the most rewarding parts about working together in our company is that we have the freedom to experiment and create.

The Sonoma Cider facility is built to allow very small batch fermentation so that we have the ability to produce on demand in small highly creative batches. As far as future offerings are concerned, I can assure you they are coming. However, we aren’t yet ready to divulge the specific hard cider as we are still tinkering.

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