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Hard Cider Company Opens

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Bold Rock Hard Cider Opens

Back in 1985, John Washburn bought a 50 acre farm on the Rockfish River in Nelson County, Virginia, attracted by the trout river running through the property and the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding the farm.   As his daughters left the nest John and Robin moved to New Zealand.  From time to time John would come back to Virginia and discovered a number of wineries had popped up and then the beer breweries started popping up.  New Zealanders (Kiwis) love their cider and so he thought, could a hard cider bridge the gap between the great wine the area produces and the awesome beer that is being crafted locally?
Brian Shanks, one of the foremost cider experts in the world just happened to live in New Zealand.  Brian had been in the apple orchard business and after a cyclone hit his orchard in the 1980s he got into making cider before cider became popular.  Over the years he perfected his craft and eventually became known worldwide as the expert to go to for answers.  As an international cider consultant Brian has helped companies in America, Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Apple Press — They use local apple The first step in the process

Today John and Brian (and their wives) own and operate Bold Rock Hard Cider about 35 minutes northeast of Lynchburg on Route 151 in Nellysford, Virginia.  The tasting area is open daily from 11-6 and having been there twice I can assure you it is worth the trip.  You can view the entire process from the crushing of the apples to the bottling of the final product when the production line is operating.  It is quite interesting, but if manufacturing isn’t your thing, then tasting a cold crisp clean bottle of cider is a great way to celebrate your arrival.  If you bring a picnic lunch you can enjoy lunch on their deck or by the banks of the Rockfish River.   Make sure you pick up a couple of 6 packs before you leave!

Apple juice ferments in these holding tanks

Bold Rock cider has been in operation since October 2010, but didn’t bottle their first bottle of cider until May 2012 (It takes time to build the buildings, install the equipment and then to ferment the apples).  Their tasting room hasn’t been constructed yet but plans are drawn and work should start soon.

Carbonation is added to the fermented juice

They are located at:
1020 Rockfish Valley Highway
Nellysford, VA 22958
(434) 361-1030

Labels are added to the bottles

Bottles are washed, filled, capped and rinsed

Directions from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast from Mapquest

. Start out going southeast on Cabell St toward D St.

0.01 mi
2. Take the 1st right onto D St.

  • Go over the D Street Bridge
0.2 mi
3. Turn left onto Rivermont Ave.

  • Rivermont Ave is 0.1 miles past Hancock St
  • Turn Left as if you were heading down town
0.3 mi
4. Turn left onto 5th St/VA-163. Continue to follow VA-163.

  • 5th Street is the First light after crossing the Rivermont Bridge
  • 5th Street becomes VA-163 after you cross the James River
1.1 mi
5. Turn right onto Old Town Conn/VA-210 E.

  • The first light after you cross the James River
  • If you reach Miller Ln you’ve gone about 0.2 miles too far
3.1 mi
6. Merge onto US-29 N via the ramp on the left toward Amherst.

  • Go 3.1 miles DO NOT turn onto US 29 Business
16.2 mi
7. Turn slight left onto VA-151/Patrick Henry Hwy. Continue to follow VA-151.

  • VA-151 is 0.5 miles past Toytown Rd
  • Exxon is on the right
  • If you reach VA-610 you’ve gone about 1.8 miles too far
  • Road is windy in spots-watch your speed
22.