Dec 11, 2017Kapnick Orchards wins Michigan cider contest
Kapnick Orchards won the 21st annual Michigan Apple Cider Contest at the Great Lakes Fruit Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO in Grand Rapids Dec. 8.
Cidermaker Scott Robertello owns Kapnick Orchards in Britton with Bruce and Sharon Shaffer. Robertello has been making cider for 36 years; the orchards were established by Sharon’s parents, Janice and Charles Kapnick, in the 1930s.
Robertello wasn’t present to receive the award Dec. 8 at a formal banquet — he was driving home and received the news by text message.
“I was really and totally in shock,” he said.
This year’s win is the first time Kapnick has had a top-three finish in the Michigan Cider contest – the best it previously had fared was an honorable mention (fifth place) in 2012.
Bob Tritten, district fruit educator with Michigan State University Extension began the Michigan Apple Cider contest in 1996 to improve cider making, promote the industry and educate the public. The sweet cider contest is sponsored by the Michigan State Horticultural Society, the Michigan Apple Committee and Fruit Growers News.
Robertello said winning cider wasn’t much different from previous year’s entries. Generally, he said, they blend juice from five or six varieties of apples, combining sweet and tart apples with more mild varieties.
“I think that helps give it body,” he said.
Robertello said it was a good year for apples, and the orchard’s cider is usually at its very best flavor at this time of the year, because they are using fully-ripened apples that were just harvested. Kapnick Orchards keeps its’ farmer’s market open year-round, and produces cider from the second week of September through May.
The runners-up are as follows:
2nd place: Bill Schultz of Shultz Fruitridge Farms in Mattawan
3rd place: Mike Koan of Koan’s Orchard in Flushing
Honorable Mentions: (fourth place) Will Cartwright, Allan, Wanda and Shannon Spicer of Spicer Orchard in Fenton; (fifth place) Skip Sietsema of Sietsema Orchards in Ada.
Twenty-nine cider makers participated in the contest. A panel of nine judges scored the ciders for appearance and color, aroma and bouquet, acidity and sweetness, sugar/acid balance, body, flavor, finish and overall quality. The judges conducted a blind taste test of the ciders in the first two rounds of the contest, and in a third round ranked them from best to least-favorite.
Kapnick Orchards will have its name added to the traveling trophy and will get to keep it until next year’s competition.
At the Dec. 8 banquet, Tritten recognized Harold Thome of Comstock Park, who had served as a judge for the first 20 years of the contest, but this year retired from the responsibility.
“We missed you today Harold,” Tritten said. “Thank you for your great service.”
— Stephen Kloosterman, Assistant Editor
Tritten provided a complete list of the contest winners since 1997:
|Year||Winner||Second Place||Third Place||# of entries|
|1997||Alvin Hill||John and Mike Beck||Richard Friske||39|
|Hill Brothers Orchard||Uncle John’s Cider Mill||Friske Orchards|
|Grand Rapids, MI||St. Johns, MI||Charlevoix, MI|
|1998||Alvin Hill||Mike Koan||Dan Beck||25|
|Hill Brothers Orchard||Koan’s Orchard||Beck’s Cider Mill|
|Grand Rapids, MI||Flushing, MI||St. Johns, MI|
|1999||Bill Erwin/Bill Emery||John and Mike Beck||Rob and Cheryl Nelson||19|
|Erwin Orchards & Cider Mill||Uncle John’s Cider Mill||Parmenter’s Cider Mill|
|South Lyon, MI||St. Johns, MI||Northville, MI|
|2000||Bill Erwin/Bill Emery||Lucie and Chuck Hiner||Ray and Linda Little||21|
|Erwin Orchards & Cider Mill||Past Tense Cider Mill||Little Orchard Company|
|South Lyon, MI||Lapeer, MI||Bay City, MI|
|2001||Bill Erwin/Bill Emery||James Goldstein||John and Mike Beck||28|
|Erwin Orchards & Cider Mill||Hy’s Cider Mill||Uncle John’s Cider Mill|
|South Lyon, MI||Romeo, MI||St. Johns, MI|
|2002||Bill Erwin/Bill Emery||Jim Hill||Mike and Therese Bossory||29|
|Erwin Orchards & Cider Mill||Hill Brother’s Orchard & Cider Mill||Alber Orchard & Cider Mill|
|South Lyon, MI||Grand Rapids, MI||Manchester, MI|
|2003||Mike Koan||Rob Long||Mike and Therese Bossory||32|
|Koan Orchards||Long’s Family Orchard & Farm||Alber Orchard & Cider Mill|
|Flushing, MI 48433||Commerce, MI||Manchester, MI|
|2004||John and Mike Beck||Jim Hill||William Verellen||29|
|Uncle John’s Cider Mill||Hill Brother’s Orchard & Cider Mill||Verellen Orchard|
|St. Johns, MI||Grand Rapids, MI||Romeo, MI|
|2005||Jim Engelsma II||William Schultz||Jim Goldstein||34|
|Engelsma’s Apple Barn||Schultz’s Fruit Ridge Farms||Hy’s Cider Mill|
|Walker, MI||Mattawan, MI||Romeo, MI|
|2006||Jim Hill||Jim Engelsma II||Jim Goldstein||33|
|Hill Bros. Orchards||Engelsma’s Apple Barn||Hy’s Cider Mill|
|Grand Rapids, MI||Walker, MI||Romeo, MI|
|2007||Jim Engelsma II||Jim Hill||Bill Erwin/Bill Emery||34|
|Engelsma’s Apple Barn||Hill Bros. Orchards||Erwin Orchards & Cider Mill|
|Walker, MI||Grand Rapids, MI||South Lyon, MI|
|2008||Jim Hill||Ray Porter||Mike Beck||30|
|Hill Bros. Orchards||Porter Orchards||Uncle John’s Cider Mill|
|Grand Rapids, MI||Goodrich, MI||St. Johns, MI|
|2009||Jim Hill||Bill Erwin/Bill Emery||Tom Rosenfeld||34|
|Hill Bros. Orchards||Erwin Orchards & Cider Mill||Earth First Farms|
|Grand Rapids, MI||South Lyon, MI||Berrien Center, MI|
|2010||Jim & Becky Engelsma||Abbey & Bill Jacobson||William Erwin/William Emery||40|
|Engelsma’s Apple Barn||Westview Orchards||Erwin Orchards & Cider Mill|
|Walker, MI||Romeo, MI||South Lyon, MI|
|2011||Skip Sietsema||Jim Hill||Jim & Becky Engelsma||31|
|Sietsema Orchard & Cider Mill, Ada, MI||Hill Bros. Orchards||Engelsma’s Apple Barn|
|Grand Rapids, MI||Walker, MI|
|2012||Jim & Becky Engelsma||Mary Emmett||Jim & Michelle Goldstein||23|
|Engelsma’s Apple Barn||Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill||Hy’s Cider Mill|
|Grand Rapids, MI||Plymouth, MI||Romeo, MI|
|2103||Mary Emmett||Jim Hill||Jim & Becky Engelsma||34|
|Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill||Hill Bros. Orchards||Engelsma’s Apple Barn|
|Plymouth, MI||Grand Rapids, MI||Grand Rapids, MI|
|2014||Jim & Becky Engelsma||Pete and Paul Blake||Stephen Klein||30|
|Engelsma’s Apple Barn||Blakes Orchard & Cider Mill||Klein Cider Mill|
|Grand Rapids, MI||Armada, MI||Sparta, MI|
|2015||Jim & Becky Engelsma||Mike & Dede Beck||Kenny Miller||38|
|Engelsma’s Apple Barn||Uncle Johns Cider Mill||Miller’s Big Red Apple Orchard|
|Grand Rapids, MI||St Johns, MI||Romeo, MI|
|2016||Kenny Miller||Chris and Corey Buerge||Alan and Wanda Spicer||34|
|Miller’s Big Red Apple Orchard||Apple Barrel Cider Mill||Spicer Orchards|
|Romeo, MI||Ithaca, MI||Fenton, MI|
|2017||Scott Robertello and Bruce Shaffer||Bill and Denise Schultz||Mike Koan||29|
|Kapnick Orchards||Schultz Fruitridge Farms||Koan’s Orchard|
|Britton, MI||Mattawan, MI||Flushing, MI|