Ditchley Cider Works (DCW) is located on approximately 162 acres in the Northern Neck of VA, 3 miles northeast of Kilmarnock. Located between Dividing Creek and Prentice Creek, the history of the property dates to the mid-1600s.
Opened for business in the fall of 2018, DCW is a small, veteran-owned and operated maker of hard apple cider, producer of pork, beef, and poultry products, and venue for group events and experience visits.
The property consists of a mix of orchards, grass pastures, wooded areas, and has ~2.5 miles of natural shoreline – including a modest-sized sand beach. Major structures on the property include a newly restored Manor House (c.1752); a 1930s caretaker/servants quarters which has been renovated into our “Cider House”; and a 1950s “kit house” located on the water (which will be phase III of our renovation projects).
All of our cider is produced from apples grown on the Ditchley property. In 2015 and 2016 we planted more than 50 varieties of cider apples. Why so many varieties? We’re still “experimenting” to determine which varieties are best acclimated to life on the Chesapeake Bay! We grow, pick, crush, squeeze all of our apples, and bottle all of our cider, on-site.
Our small herd of grass-fed Belted Galloway cattle and “free-range” (they live in the woods) Tamworth and Large Black heritage hogs keep the grass mowed and the underbrush eliminated. In addition to selling standard cuts of beef and pork, we also produce hand-made, nitrate and nitrite-free, artisan cased sausages.
Indian Runner Ducks, Geese, and Turkeys have been incorporated into our orchard pest management efforts. In the spring and early summer, the ducks and geese provide large quantities of eggs, and in Nov/Dec our geese and turkeys are holiday favorites.
The Manor House, Cider House, and grounds are used to support special occasions from weddings and rehearsal dinners, to antique car shows and group/club events. Overnight accommodations are available in both houses to support group events.
From our modest sand beach, Dividing Creek and it’s opening into the Chesapeake Bay offer vast areas of very lightly used open, but protected, waters to explore via paddle-board or kayak. Additionally, there are miles of lightly traveled country roads to explore the local area on your bicycle – visit nature preserves, historic sites, or just enjoy the open road.