Cider Making in Kelowna: Techniques and Traditions

A tree filled with lots of red and yellow apples next to a forest filled with lots of green and red leaves in Kelowna.


From the historical roots in European orchards to the contemporary craft cider movement, Kelowna’s cider scene shows the region’s rich agricultural heritage and its progressive spirit. Explore cider making in Kelowna, a craft that elegantly marries traditional methods with modern innovation.

Historical Context

Cider making is a tale as old as time, tracing its origins back to Roman times. In medieval Europe, cider was a staple on tap in bars and establishments. When Europeans set foot in North America, they brought this tradition with them, planting apple trees and brewing cider, a safer alternative to water at that time. The craft continued to flourish until the Industrial Revolution, which saw a decline as farmers moved to factories. The final nail in the coffin was Prohibition, which led to the destruction of many apple orchards, and for a while, cider fell out of favour.

However, Kelowna, with its apple-rich Okanagan Valley, has witnessed a revival in cider making. This resurgence is not just about recapturing a lost art but redefining it for modern palates.

Kelowna's Cider Making Scene

Kelowna is home to a cider making scene, a reflection of the valley’s fertile grounds and innovative spirit. Establishments like BC Tree Fruits Cider Co., Scenic Road Cider Co., Soma Cidery, and Upside Cider are at the forefront of this revival. Each cidery brings its unique flavour to the table by experimenting with different apple varieties or incorporating local fruits. These cideries are storytellers, each sip narrating a piece of Kelowna’s rich history and its bountiful land.

Traditional Cider Making Techniques

The traditional cider making process in Kelowna pays homage to its European roots. Here, the emphasis is on the natural qualities of the fruit, with European cider apple varieties playing a starring role. The process is a careful dance of fermentation and aging, allowing the natural sugars to slowly transform into a beverage that is both complex and nuanced. This traditional approach is about patience and respect for the craft, ensuring that each batch captures the nuance of the apple.

Modern Innovations in Cider Making

Kelowna’s cideries are places where tradition meets innovation. Modern cider makers in the valley are experimenting with new techniques, blending different fruit varieties, and even infusing unexpected flavours. These innovations are about creating a unique product while using sustainable and organic practices. Take Upside Cider, for example, which uses organic apples from their farm, emphasizing environmental sustainability and biodiversity.

The Cider Experience in Kelowna

Visiting a Kelowna cidery is an immersion into the culture and community of the valley. Places like Soma Cidery not only offer a range of exquisite ciders but also a chance to connect with the land, with their beautiful picnic areas and farm settings. Upside Cider, with its sustainable action plan, offers a glimpse into the future of eco-friendly beverage production. Each cidery in Kelowna offers a unique experience, combining great flavours with stunning landscapes and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

As cider making continues to evolve in Kelowna, it remains a poignant reminder of the region's agricultural legacy and its forward-thinking ethos. Whether you're a cider aficionado or a curious traveler, Kelowna's cider scene is a flavourful adventure waiting to be explored.