Philo, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California (April 2018)  Gowan’s 1876 Heirloom Cuvée cider scored 98 points, placing the estate cider among the top 1% of the 1,117 wines competing in California’s prestigious North Coast Wine Challenge. The competition drew the best wines from Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties, the heart of California’s wine country.

Gowan’s is a leader in the emerging fine cider category, bubbling up across California and the nation. Fine ciders are fruit-forward and terroir driven; display more complexity and refinement; may be still or bubbly; a blend, a cuvée, or even a single varietal like Gowan’s Macintosh (95 point GOLD) or Gowan’s Gravenstein (also 95 point GOLD). Fine ciders are akin to fine wines, versus flavored ‘cider-coolers’ which are like wine-coolers or hard sodas.

“The cider market is maturing and consumers want to know where the apples are grown, too,” says Don Gowan, 5th generation to grow apples on the family homestead, established in 1876. “Consumers are moving towards authentic ciders made from locally sourced apples—and they’re demanding the same transparency as they have come to expect in wine labels. If the label says California, the apples absolutely should be grown here, just like you would expect in a California wine. We’re proud to display the Real California Cider certification on all our labels.”

“Consumers around the world know that California grows the best fruit, the microclimate and soil, along with the variety, have a huge impact on quality and flavor—and that’s as true in cider as it is in wine,” says Gowan, and with a nod toward the rows of blue ribbons decorating the walls, he notes “Blue ribbon apples make gold medal cider.”

And this spring marks the Gowan family’s 142nd apple growing season with apple blossoms blanketing the heritage orchards. Back in the day, the Gowan family delivered apples by horse and wagon along California’s northern coast. Now Gowan’s is one of the elite cider houses that uses California fruit exclusively, and one of the few in the US producing estate ciders—growing 100% of their own apples and bottling onsite.

Over the six generations, the Gowan family has learned a thing or two about growing apples: like which kinds of trees produce the most flavorful apples in this unique terroir, and how a myriad of influences affect flavor from harvest to bottle. Gowan’s has curated and now grows over 83 kinds of heirloom apples in Anderson Valley, recognized as one of the premier wine growing regions as well. Also, researchers have credited the Gowan family with saving the Sierra Beauty apple from extinction, which the family first planted in 1906 from a single tree. Now when gardeners plant a Sierra Beauty tree in their backyard, they have a direct connection with the historic Gowan family orhards in Philo. Gowan’s Sierra Beauty cider, ranked #1 in California, taking home BEST of SHOW in California Cider Competition, 2017.


Gowan’s Heirloom Ciders, a member in the Anderson Valley Winegrower Association, has earned and been honored with top ratings and awards from numerous wine and cider competitions, from regional to international competitions. Some recent accolades are listed below:
1876 Heirloom Cuvée
NEW! 98 point BEST OF CLASS—North Coast Wine Challenge 2018
NEW! TOP 2 /GOLD—CIDERCRAFT Magazine International Competition 2017
BEST in SHOW—California Cider Competition 2016
DOUBLE GOLD—Mendocino International Cider Competition 2015
Gravenstein Cider
NEW! 95 Point—Best of California- State Fair Wine Competition 2018
BEST in CLASS—California Cider Competition 2017
GOLD—California Cider Competition 2016
Macintosh Cider
NEW! 95 Point, GOLD—North Coast Wine Challenge 2018
BEST in CLASS—California Cider Competition 2017
GOLD—California Cider Competition 2016
Sierra Beauty Cider
NEW! TOP 4—CIDERCRAFT Magazine International Competition 2017
BEST in SHOW—California Cider Competition 2017

RESERVE BEST in SHOW—Mendocino International Cider Competition 2017
SILVER—California State Fair Wine Competition 2018


For more information or samples contact

Patricia Schneider C: 415-717-7595

Sharon Gowan 707-205-1538

Press releases are generated outside of Spirited magazine and the information contained does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Spirited or its parent company, Sonoma Media Investments.