Dec 6, 2018
Klein Cider Mill takes top honors in EXPO contest

Klein Cider Mill and Market of Sparta, Michigan was awarded first place in the 22nd annual Michigan Apple Cider Contest at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dec. 5.

Stephen Klein is owner of Klein Cider Mill. Bob Tritten, district fruit educator with Michigan State University Extension began the contest in 1996 to improve cider making, promote the industry by creating learning opportunities for cidermakers and educate the public. The sweet cider contest is sponsored by the  Michigan State Horticultural Society, the Michigan Apple Committee and Fruit Growers News.

“Our great cider industry has come a long way and our cider makers have done a good job this last 22 years,” Tritten said.

This year’s contest had 26 entries, down slightly from previous years. Judging took place earlier in the day at DeVos Place by nine judges from across the state of Michigan. Three top award winners were selected, along with two honorable mention entries.

The top three award winners received a plaque they will keep. The first-place winner will have their name placed on, and take possession of the “Stanley Cup of cider making.”

Named the second-place winner was Erwin Orchards in South Lyon, Michigan. Bill and Linda own the business. The cidermaker is their son, Kyle.

The third-place winner was Engelsma Apple Barn in Walker. Owner is Jim Engelsma and his daughter Bridgett is a cidermaker.

Fourth-place honoree was King Orchards in Central Lake. John King is the cidermaker.

Fifth-place winner was Kapnick Orchards in Britten. Cidermaker Scott Robetellow owns Kapnick Orchards with Bruce and Sharon Shaffer. Kapnick Orchards won the apple cider contest in 2017.

Gary Pullano, FGN managing editor

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