Anna's (And Dominic's) Cider
When winemaker Dominic O’Reilly and his wife, Anna, were looking for a hobby to do together, they happened upon hard cider. This collaboration turned into the brand-new Anna’s Cider based in Upper Ojai, the first commercial hard cider producer in Ventura County. The couple started the project last summer with certified organic Braeburn and Fuji apples sourced from San Luis Obispo. (They say they are working to get locally grown organic apples into the mix.)
Since the timing coincided with the grape harvest, Dominic made the cider while Anna handled the permitting and back end of the business. “It was definitely a cooperative effort,” he says.
The beverage’s coming out party was at The Core Pour Hard Cider Tasting and Music Festival in Santa Paula in November. The cider is dry with “delicate, aromatic complexities, more like a session beverage, like a beer, and is slightly effervescent,” says O’Reilly, director of winemaking at Topa Mountain Winery in Ojai. It’s “very crisp, very clean with a real focus on the flavor of apples.”
Being a winemaker shortened the learning curve because the process is similar to making wine, says O’Reilly. It doesn’t hurt that Anna is a science and math teacher, either.
Anna’s Cider will be available in kegs at select locations in Ojai and Ventura. They are offering bottled cider aged in oak barrels through the website’s mailing list, with releases planned for every couple months.
For more info, visit AnnasCider.com.