Plan to Attend the Hard Cider Sessions at the Empire State Producers Expo in Syracuse, January 15

By Craig Kahlke

Empire State Producers ExpoThe explosion in hard cider production in NY continues to fuel the increasing attendance for sessions at the statewide educational conference. Session 1 kicks off with Dr. Greg Peck of Cornell discussing “Cider Apple Diversity in the USDA Malus Germplasm Collection”. Attendees will be amazed at the sheer number of varieties and their associated fruit and juice characteristics suitable for making ciders with complex and diverse flavors.

We are very pleased to have Professor Bri Ewing from Washington State University, to present on “Managing Apple Maturity & Post-Harvest Storage to Increase Polyphenols in Cider”. Our young hard cider industry needs guidance in this area, and Bri’s talk should prove to be very insightful.

Lindsey Pashow from CCE Harvest NY will be introducing “2019 Hard Cider Supply Chain Survey”, a follow up to the inaugural survey put together by Lindsey and the Cornell Hard Cider PWT. With such a near-explosive growth in the cider industry, it is critical to have accurate supply chain information.

Between educational sessions, Cornell will be hosting their Hard Cider Program Work Team (PWT) meeting. The Hard Cider PWT is a multi-disciplinary group of Cornell researchers, instructors, extension educators, and industry stakeholders who collaborate on statewide hard cider activities. Everyone is invited to attend the meeting, which will include research updates and promotion of upcoming events.

The final educational session of the afternoon has Cornell AgriTech’s Chris Gerling with “Updates from the Vinification & Brewing Laboratory”.  The popularity of the Cider Production classes highlights the excitement over the cider industry.

Following this, we have Professor Bri Ewing with another presentation, “Dropping Knowledge: Using Ground-Harvested Fruit for Cider Production in Compliance with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule”. With the compliance of the federal food safety rule upon us, the timing is perfect for this topic.

We are pleased to have two NY cider-makers and growers, Liz and Warner Heppner of StoneyRidge Orchard & Winery, to discuss “Grower Experiences with Mechanical Harvesters” of their machine that they bought from Europe that they are using to harvest their cider apples.

The educational portion of the final session will wrap up with a representative from the New York Cider Association leading us through a “Cider Tasting for Apple Growers: Bittersharps and Bittersweets”. Education of consumers is needed in the types of cider and their associated tannin and acid levels, and NYCA is spearheading this initiative in NY. Following this, attendees are welcome to stay and try a myriad of excellent hard ciders from producers around the state!

The Hard Cider sessions are in afternoon in the Otis Suite 10 on Tuesday, January 15th. Session III runs from 2:00-3:15 PM, the Cornell Hard Cider PWT Intersession is from 3:15-3:45 PM, and Session IV runs from 3:45-5:00 PM (educational portion), with an optional networking and tasting to follow from 5:00-6:00 PM.

Registration information: