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Tod Creek Craft Cider

The Story

Named after the creek that runs through the orchard grounds, Tod Creek Craft Cider is a new beginning for this property. Formerly a working dairy farm for the 50’s to 70’s, it has now become Vancouver Island’s third cidery. We are a land-based licensed winery and only produce craft cider here.

After more than a few years of neglect from previous owners, this eight acre spread is now home to a traditional, small batch cidery. There is a lot of work ahead of us to restore this old farm, and we invite you to follow us over the years as we grow and improve the land.

Our cider maker, Chris Schmidt, started the Tod Creek Cider process in 2012. The license was issued in the spring of 2014 and our Grand Opening was June 28th, 2014.

We welcome you to try our cider and discover the taste of something special.

  • Before: What used to be a rundown dairy farm is undergoing renovations and is now the home of Tod Creek Craft Cider. The old pastures will be planted with dwarf-style, cider-variety apple trees.
  • After: The 9000 sq. ft. barn still needs a lot of work, despite 5 years of extensive repairs. But what a difference! Our next phase will include a tasting room and hopefully a lounge, if licensing permits, on the upper left side of the barn. We’re also planning a west-facing deck to enjoy the evening sun with your cider. Drop by during our open hours and have a look.

The Cider

Tod Creek Craft Cider makes small batch, handcrafted cider with BC apples. We source our apples from local trees on Vancouver Island as well as from farmers in the BC interior

OUR CIDERS:

  • Bamfield Bound: An off-dry craft cider with a hint of maple syrup to take the dry edge off
  • Tod Cider: Craft cider in a can! 100% juice, fully fermented, then back-sweetened slightly with apple juice for an off-dry full flavour cider. Not diluted with water, nor any refined sugars added.
  • Mala-Hop: This is our triple-hopped craft cider. Like hops? You’ll love our cider that is made with organic hops from a small farm in Lilloette.
  • Coastal Blue: We add local blueberry juice to our craft cider for an amazing west coast taste!
  • Sidre Salvaje: (see-dra sall-vah-hey) Our Spanish-style cider, with an acetic flavour profile from the wild fermentation and inoculation from the acetobaceure, for a really flavourful, dry, still cider.
  • Prospect Dry: Our traditional style cider, much like a cider from Somerset. Dry, still, lightly oaked and full of tannins from the bittersweet apples (Tremlett & Dabinett).

Long, slow fermentation brings about great flavours in the traditional way. We typically ferment each batch for about four months. If you want the super-sweet, watered-down canned stuff, we can’t help you. Our ciders are all-juice blends to bring a clean, crisp, enjoyable drink that goes great with dinner, friends, or all by itself.

As a small batch cider, you’ll notice that each year the ciders will vary slightly, much like a good wine does. Our apples will be influenced by the sun, the amount of rainfall, and other factors, so each year will yield a slightly different taste.

Most of our ciders are coarse filtered, and our hopped cider isn’t filtered at all. Filtering can take some of the flavours out of cider, so we try to limit the amount of filtering we do.

WHY WE MAKE OUR CIDER THE WAY WE DO

The cidermaker grinds the apples in small batches, so that the rotten ones can be picked out, and all the apples washed just before they go through the grinder. Larger producers will use big buckets to scoop a dump truck of apples into the massive grinder- which makes it harder to pick out those ‘rotten apples’.

However, the apples we use do not need to look pretty. In fact, scab and bruising is of no concern to a cidermaker. This means less pesticides and chemicals, if any, are used on the apples, because we don’t care if they are a little ugly.

WHY ‘CRAFT CIDER’

The general goal behind ‘craft’ cider is to use 99% apple juice in the cider making. We aim for 100% but that’s hard to achieve once we wash the apple, so we settle with a lowly 99%. Commercial ciders will usually water their apple juice down, then add sugar, to achieve their version of cider. Tod Creek Craft Cider is 99% juice, no sugar added…and we have a long fermentation time to ensure we keep the craft in craft cider.

We’ve named our ciders for the Island inspirations that guided our cider maker, Chris Schmidt, to become Vancouver Island’s third craft-cider producer. We hope you enjoy our cider as much as you enjoy Island life.

The Orchard

Formerly fields for dairy cattle to roam through, there are about three acres of field that we are planting our cider apple trees on. Using the M9 dwarf tree rootstock, our trees will be growing in rows, much like a winery. This allows for early producing apples, higher yield, and easier picking in the fall.

Cider apples don’t need a lot of extra special care other than love and attention. Fertilizers are kept to a minimum as nitrogen deficient apples are better for craft cider. Since our apples are destined for the crusher, apple scab is not a concern.

The trees that we have growing are a variety of sizes, but the majority of our trees are M9 dwarf style trees. They grow faster, and are easier to pick the apples off the trees. We can stand on stable ground instead of a rickety ladder, and if some canker occurs, then it is far easier to replace a dwarf tree than a great big old tree.

Tod Creek Craft Cider’s apples are grown following Good Earth practices; we minimize or eliminate our use of chemicals and fertilizers where possible. Our integrated pest management program follows organic and holistic practices, as a few bugs here and there are ok. Live and let live.

We purposely do not aim to achieve ‘organic’ status as it can be an expensive burden on a small cidery, but we love the earth our trees grow on and look after it accordingly.

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