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Eden Ciders and Shelburne Vineyard Merge


Published April 17, 2023 at 2:41 p.m.
Updated April 19, 2023 at 10:26 a.m.

Iapetus and Eden Ciders products - JORDAN BARRY ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Jordan Barry ©️ Seven Days
  • Iapetus and Eden Ciders products
On Friday, April 14, two big players in the Vermont beverage scene merged into one company. Northeast Kingdom-based Eden Ciders and Shelburne Vineyard will retain their distinct brands while operating under shared leadership, with Eden founder Eleanor Léger as CEO.

Ken and Gail Albert planted some of the first commercial wine grapes in Vermont when they started Shelburne Vineyard in 1998. Now a multi-vineyard operation headquartered on Route 7, the business acquired New Haven’s Lincoln Peak Vineyard in 2021.

For the first six years after Léger and her husband, Albert, launched Eden in 2008, Shelburne Vineyard was the only place to taste the brand’s ice cider “unless you came all the way to our kitchen in West Charleston,” Léger told Seven Days.

As ready-to-drink canned cocktails have pushed the cider industry toward mass-market, sugary drinks over the past two years, Léger has worked to distinguish her harvest-based beverages, aligned more closely to wine.

“That goal was bubbling in my head when I was delivering some ice cider to Shelburne Vineyard and learned that Ken and Gail were looking for a way to retire,” Léger said. “I thought, Huh. I wonder if we can help with that.”

The combined Eden Ciders and Shelburne Vineyard team - COURTESY
  • The combined Eden Ciders and Shelburne Vineyard team
The Alberts will “ease into retirement” while retaining a portion of ownership in the combined company and acting as brand ambassadors, according to a press release.

No staff will be laid off as part of the merger, Léger said. The teams have been working together for three months to prepare for the transition, and the combined company’s full range of products — including Shelburne Vineyard grower Ethan Joseph’s Iapetus wines — will be sold in its various tasting rooms in Shelburne, New Haven and Newport.

Shelburne Vineyard and Iapetus wines are now available through Eden’s website. The brands share several distributors and will work to expand their out-of-state footprint, Léger said.

In 2020, Eden and Iapetus released a 50-50 apple-grape coferment called Orogenies — a geologic term for mountain-building events. Léger hinted at many more collaborative coferments to come, beginning with a release this week: Troc Star, a canned specialty cider fermented over Shelburne Vineyard’s Riesling grape skins.

“My intention is to be a good, cooperative friend to the industry and to bring more energy and support to Vermont wines and ciders,” Léger said. “I think the time is right, and we’re poised for something great.”

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