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Review: Silk Threads

Sea Cider on Vancouver Island

June 22nd, 2009 @ 8:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Nestled up on a hill overlooking the peninsula, Sea Cider in Saanichton is an orchard oasis.

Sea Cider

Sea Cider

Producing almost a dozen varieties of cider this 3-acre orchard, and 7-acre forest, creates delicious and refreshing organic spirits year-round. For Kristen Jordan, who founded Sea Cider with her husband five years ago it was a natural move when they took over the farm, both of them having a connection to cider-making and orchards in their past.

Sea Cider

Sea Cider grows various varieties of apples on their 1,000 trees, while also using their wooded acreage to grow complimentary products such as stinging nettles for tea, lavender, honey, and mint. It seems that every bit of land is used to grow and cultivate the fruit and the Sea Cider products, even the spent apples are composted and Kristen mentioned some local chefs are interested in working them into some menu items.

Sea Cider

Sea Cider

The operation is modest but they have a great group of helpers including volunteers that come to them from the WWOOF program. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms connects people who would like to work the land or learn how to run organic operations with those currently in business.

Sea Cider

Sea Cider

The cider house is perched at the top of the land with a fabulous patio that looks out over the land and water. Once inside, surrounded by lovely woodwork, towering ceilings, and local artwork, you’re able to enjoy tasting flights and local pairings prepared on-site.

Sea Cider

Sea Cider

During our visit we sampled the following ciders that were poured by Kristen while she provided history and background for each of the drinks:

  • Flagship (certified organic in 08)
  • Wild English (that John compared to a Hefeweizen ale)
  • Kings & Spies (that is supported by a local non-profit called Lifecycles)
  • Pippins (my personal favourite, ‘prohibition style’)
  • Perry (made with fermented Perry Pears from North Saanich)
  • Rumrunner (fermented in Kentucky Bourbon and screech barrels)
  • From the ‘sweet tooth’ series:

  • Pommeau (Normandy-style made with snow apples)
  • Cyser (fermented honey blended with organic cider)
  • Pomona (made with very dry apples, giving it an ice wine texture)
  • The alcohol in the ciders ranges from 8% to 16.2% in the Pomona.

    Sea Cider

    Sea Cider

    Sea Cider

    Sea Cider

    Sea Cider

    Our samplers were paired with Saltspring Cheese Company cheese, smoked bison, North Island tuna, two kinds of chutney, sea asparagus, and sponge toffee.

    Sea Cider

    The ciders are crisp and refreshing, crossing the spectrum from very light apple tastes and nuances to deep, dark, and lusciously sweet. The entire experience at Sea Cider is an education in eating local and discovering just how many foods are created by Island farmers and artisans. “It’s a humble drink,” said Kristen. “There’s a cider tradition that’s been lost and we want to help bring it back.”

    Sea Cider

    Flanked by lush forests, farms and orchards, Sea Cider’s location is tranquil and picturesque. Whether you’re heading to Victoria, up Island, or to catch a ferry back to the mainland, Sea Cider is definitely on my list of recommended stops.

    Sea Cider

    You can visit their website to find out more about where you can purchase their ciders outside of the cider house including Uva Wine Bar on Seymour St in downtown Vancouver, the Alibi Room, and Liberty Wine Merchants.

    Sea Cider

    You can also find Sea Cider at local festivals and markets this summer including the Organic Islands Festival & Sustainability Expo and don’t miss their birthday party July 18th.

    Our stop at Sea Cider was during our Coast Hotels ‘New Victoria for New Media’ tour – view my Flickr set for more images.

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  • 9 comments

    1. Eva says:

      Sea Cider is great and they produce amazing product! Kristen and her husband run a outstanding operation.

    2. Elizabeth says:

      I absolutely agree about loving this place. It’s a perfect combination of people, products and location.

    3. Sean says:

      mmmmmmmmm …Sea Cider Rumrunner is good stuff! If you get a chance, go there.

    4. Sea Cider’s Kings and Spies is my favourite.

    5. Danny Dang says:

      The Pomona was my favourite! 2nd was the Rumrunner.

    6. […] hearing much raving about Vancouver Island’s Sea Cider from both John and Rebecca, I believe the hype! Nothing beats the crisp and refreshing taste of local apples combined with […]

    7. […] as well. I had never even considered apple cider as a meal pairing until I the pleasure of visiting Sea Cider in Saanichton earlier this summer and now also Merridale. The cider business on Vancouver Island […]

    8. Team One says:

      Sea Cider is an exceptional family-run business. During our visit in October we were able to experience a candid tour with a Production Manager and learnt a great deal about the cider making industry. The service was brilliant, very personable and knowledgeable. Our experience with cider before our visit was minimal and we left Sea Cider with a new passion for traditional ciders.
      Perry sounds like an interesting cider, unfortunately it was not available at the time of our visit. It sounds delicious! Pear and apple cider would be a great mix.
      It’s great that you had the opportunity to tour with Kristen herself. During our visit she was unavailable and it sounds like you received a very thorough and informative tour, whereas ours was very casual.

    9. James Green says:

      While we love the Seacider as a location, we are disappointed to have had a less than pleasant experience dealing with their event Co-Ordinator. She was quite difficult to work with and rather rude to our staff, while carrying an abrasive, personality.

      We hope The Seacider will improve it’s client services team in the future.

      This bump in the road won’t stop us from liking cider!

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