The lone alcohol vendor at the Durango Farmers Market, Fenceline Cider, brings locally-produced cider and wine to the market.
“We started a year and a half ago in Mancos and we just go around Montezuma and La Plata counties, harvesting the fruit off historic orchard here in the area and use that to make really good, Colorado Plateau-based hard cider,” said co-owner Sam Perry.
The fact that the cidery self-distributes to a limited part of Southwest Colorado allows the product to convey a sense of place, he said.
“There’s a pretty vibrant historic orchard economy here from the turn of the century and we’ve been able to tap into that and harvest fruit off those orchards and they have some very unique varieties that nobody’s really planting anymore,” he said.
The name of the company comes from the way apples propagate themselves, Perry said.
“A McIntosh apple seed, if it’s planted, won’t make a McIntosh apple tree – they deviate genetically from their parent trees. What we’ve found as we drive around the counties here is that a lot of the trees that grow on the fence lines are actually better for cider because they tend to be more astringent and tarter than, say, commercially-selected dessert fruit.”
When birds go out to the region’s orchards, they’ll eat an apple, land on a fence wire and drop the seed. The fence then protects the new tree as it grows, and the fence line acts as a nursery for good cider fruit, he said.
Fenceline is currently selling four products at the market: Seedling, a dry, modern American-style cider; Thunderbolt, a wild fermented cider made from a wild yeast captured off the apple skins and native yeast in the air and aged in French oak barrels for about 6 months; Hesperus, a dry white wine derived from Riesling grapes from the Box Bar Ranch west of Cortez; and Shapeshift, a Cabernet-Petit Verdot blend.