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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is hard cider?

The short answer is that hard cider is a refreshing, low alcohol beverage that's easy to sip on its own or paired with your favorite foods. Delicious!

The slightly longer answer is that hard cider is a wine fermented from apples without adding any distilled alcohol. In our case, Gowan's Heirloom Ciders are made from 100% California apples grown in our 140 year old orchards in the premium terroir of Anderson Valley.

Do you have a tasting room?

Yes! We're proud to announce Gowan's Cider Tasting in the Orchard!

Are Gowan's Heirloom Ciders gluten free?

Absolutely! All of our ciders are naturally gluten free.

Do Gowan's Heirloom Ciders contain sulfites?

They do, partly because they’re a normal part of fermentation and partly because we do add some in the cidermaking process. 


Sulfites are natural antioxidants and preservatives. They also inhibit malolactic fermentation (MLF), the process by which naturally present and tart-tasting malic acid is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid… and we like a little tart in our ciders. 

Why "Heirloom"?

Because it fits. The Gowan orchards have been in our family for six generations now, making it a family heirloom, and the 83 varieties of apples that we grow have remained untouched by large-scale commercial agriculture. 

What’s the best serving temperature for Gowan's Heirloom Ciders?

Most of our ciders are best served lightly chilled in a white wine glass. So refrigerator cold.  But you can also put them in an ice bucket for a bit to chill them more quickly!


If you really want to be scientific about this…45-55 Farenheit

Where do you source the apples for Gowan's Heirloom Cider?

From our very own orchards, located on California’s rich Mendocino Coast! We are proud to call Philo, California in the Anderson Valley our home, and to be one of the few estate grown ciders around. 

What apple varieties are used in the 1876 blend?

That’s a closely guarded family secret! Over the last few years we’ve fermented hundreds of small batch single variety apples paired with different yeasts, in a huge experiment to discover the best pairing between apple and yeast. We’re not divulging the results just yet.

How are you able to make ciders with such a strong, rich scent?

If you’ve ever visited our orchards in October, you’d recognize these rich aromatics. We don’t use any flavorings of any sort; the secret is the varieties we grow, the terroir, and our six generations of orcharding expertise on this family farm. It’s all a matter of selecting, planting, grafting, growing, and harvesting the apples to produce the best flavor in this terroir. And of course the 80 plus heirloom varieties we grow.  


After 140 years of curating this unique collection of heirloom apples on this same land, we still have endless debates around kitchen tables about how one variety is better than another, better this year vs last year, better earlier, mid, or late season, and so on. As farmers we may only replant an orchard once or twice our lifetime, but picking the right apple is extremely important. 

What foods pair best with Gowan's Heirloom Ciders?

What kind of foods do you enjoy? Our ciders pair well with a variety of foods, from spicy to sweet. Specific recommendations can be found on the back label of every bottle. Some of our favorites are the Gravenstein Heirloom with an appetizer spread of cheese and charcuterie, the 1876 Heirloom with a spicy Thai curry and the Sierra Beauty Heirloom compliments just about any dessert. 

What do I do if my sparkling Gowan's Heirloom Cider goes flat?

To avoid that issue altogether, keep the sparkle in the bottle with a champagne-style topper, one that seals tightly against the inside of the bottle neck. Note: the Sierra Beauty Heirloom starts out still anyway, so that won’t be carbonated no matter how well you seal it.

However, if a sparkling cider loses its fizz, you can enjoy it still or use in cooking. Cider is an excellent ingredient for braising, glazing, salad dressings and soups. 

How many calories are there in a bottle of Gowan’s Heirloom Cider?

Under 100 calories for Macintosh and 1876 Heirloom Cuvée

110 calories for Gravenstein, per 8 oz serving.

Carbohydrates are the same as an apple, which kind of makes sense!

Can I recycle Gowan’s Heirloom Cider bottles?

Yes, please do! We use sustainable practices in our orchard and cidery. As caretakers of this planet, please recycle, reduce and reuse as much as possible.

Why did you change your labels?

Like the Gowan family, there's more than one generation of the labels on our award-winning ciders. This new look was designed with more of the story and 140 year heritage of Gowan Orchards in mind. See more here.

How can I join the Cider Club?

Becoming a part of the Gowan’s Heirloom Cider Club is easy! To join and begin receiving shipments of our heirloom ciders, simply fill out this sign-up form. No membership fee is required and you may cancel anytime after receiving one shipment. It’s that simple!

How do I get a membership discount?

Once you have submitted your membership application online and log in using your username and password, the 10% membership discount will automatically apply to anything you add to the shopping cart. 

Always make sure you are logged in before placing an order, otherwise your membership discount won't be applied. Once an order is processed online we can’t issue refunds or credits.

How do I log in to my club account?

Once you sign up, you’ll receive a confirmation email with your username and password. A link to the Cider Club member portal can be found at the top of every page on this site, as well as in the navigation bar. Fill in your username and password on the login page, and from there you can go to the online store where your membership discount is automatically applied to all your purchases.

Can I pause my Cider Club membership?

Yes, at any time! Just let us know what date to start putting a hold on your shipments and what date to end that hold, or if the hold should be indefinite. Use the contact form to let us know or contact our Cider Club Coordinator. Newsletters will still continue to be delivered unless you include that in your message or update your subscription options. 

Please note that while your membership is on hold you will no longer receive your member discount. 

Is cider new to the United States?

No, but a cider renaissance is currently sweeping the country and we're thrilled to be riding the wave.

In colonial times, cider was America’s drink of choice for everyone from the Founding Fathers to pioneer families. Apples were one of the earliest known crops in the English-speaking New World and the cider industry grew along with it. Hard cider was commonly enjoyed with meals and also used as currency for trade. Then, as immigration from Germany and Eastern Europe rose in the early 1900’s, beer gained more popularity. 


Recent years have seen a revived interest in cider for its natural food-friendliness and for being gluten free.

What does "terroir" mean?

Terroir is a French term commonly used  to describe a sense of place. As the original California wine country was actually apple country, Gowan's Heirloom Ciders are a taste of earlier times when the climate, soil, topography, and other important growing factors applied primarily to the region's apple crops. Apples grown in California and especially in this terroir are packed with flavor and perfect for fermenting the very best fruit-forward ciders.

What does "Grand Cru" mean?

Grand Cru is a French term that means great growth. It refers both to the superior grade of the finished product and the high quality of the way and place where it was grown. We are considered one of California’s Grand Cru orchards, and not technically for the quality of our apples. It speaks to the potential of our orchards and the premium terroir of Anderson Valley.


It also means that Gowan’s Heirloom Ciders aren’t just superior craft beverages because of our cider making process. From our blue ribbon apples grown in blue ribbon orchards, we’ve spun apples into Gold Medal winning ciders.

What does "fruit-forward" mean?

Fruit-forward means that we don’t cover up any of the apples’ natural flavors. We could also call this unadulterated cider as it showcases the primary flavors of the apples over anything else. The different flavors of our ciders come naturally from the different types of apples, so in every glass you can explore these heirloom varieties that our family has been cultivating for generations. 

Because our ciders are estate grown we have the luxury of letting our apples ripen on the tree before being hand-picked. The fruit is all grown-up and quite capable of expressing themselves!

What is the Farm To Table movement?

Farm To Table (or Farm To Glass, Farm to Fork, and in some cases Farm To School) is a social movement which promotes interest in locally produced foods and strengthening the bonds within each community. The movement values nutrition and flavor, and aims to promote small family farms and heirloom produce over highly centralized and impersonal food growing and distribution systems.


As family farmers of heirloom fruits and vegetables, we are behind this movement 100%. Food tastes better when it’s grown by people who really know the land it comes from, and Gowan’s Heirloom Ciders have a rich, fruit-forward flavor that you can’t achieve without the similarly rich history of our apple orchards in the Anderson Valley.

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Gluten Free
Cider Renaissance
Tasting Room
Apple Source
Food Pairings
Going Flat
Farm To Table
Grand Cru
New Labels
Pause Membership
Join Club
Member Discount
1876 Blend
Rich Scent
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