Island Orchard Cider

Our Orchard

The island’s geography, similar to that of northern France, is hospitable to the hardy varieties of apples used for cider making, and the tempering effect of Lake Michigan protects our orchard from extreme cold.

On our farm on Washington Island, a few craggy old apple trees dotted the fields. As our interest in cider grew, we began researching and planting the best cultivars for crafting hard cider. Varieties such as Kingston Black, Esopus Spitzburg and Newton Pippen are grown espalier style, which grows a compact, productive tree.

We begin with hearty dwarfing rootstock that is ideal for a cold climate. Then we graft on scionwood from traditional apple cider cultivars that produce the best fruit for our cider. At present our orchard consists of 1,600 apple trees (30 French, English and American cultivars) and 500 pear trees (10 cultivars). This variety of fruit creates our crisp, complex and delicious ciders.