Joseph and Eva started their Rockbridge Cider Vinegar business on their homestead in Rockbridge County, Virginia in 2015. Their mission is to create high quality apple cider vinegar and to nurture earth-friendly orchards. Joseph is the vinegar Brewmaster and Eva wears many hats working in the “Certified Naturally Grown” orchard and around the homestead.
In England in the early 1980’s, Joseph began studying time-honored methods of brewing hard cider and apple cider vinegar. He then planted an orchard on the homestead with a variety of heirloom apples that would blend beautifully into a traditional apple cider vinegar. When the trees were finally bearing a good apple harvest, Joseph and Eva hand-built a Virginia Department of Agriculture approved Vinegar Brewery.
Joseph follows an historic “batch-fermentation” process when making his handcrafted vinegars. This is a slow brewing method that creates a mellow-tasting apple cider vinegar full of apple flavors and aromas. Apples are harvested, washed with pure water, ground-up into a pulp and pressed. The sweet apple juice from the press is poured into five-gallon glass jars. A premium Champagne Yeast is added and then the jars are sealed with an airlock and allowed to ferment into hard cider. When the hard cider is completely fermented it is pumped into individual 25-gallon stainless steel vats. An exclusive “Mother of Vinegar” that has been specially grown on the homestead is mixed into each vat. With help from the “Mother of Vinegar”, the hard cider slowly converts over a number of months into apple cider vinegar. When the slow conversion is complete (Joseph tests the acidity every day), it is time to fill, seal and label the bottles of artisanal vinegar. This is a completely natural, unpasteurized process from ripe apples to apple cider vinegar. This traditional “batch fermentation” process creates a soft and delicious vinegar. After years of study and preparation, Eva and Joseph are proud to finally offer their locally crafted Rockbridge Cider Vinegars!