North Carolina's first pommelier comes courtesy of Botanist & Barrel

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Cedar Grove’s Botanist & Barrel can tally up another accomplishment under its belt.

And that accomplishment comes directly from the United States Association of Cider Makers. B&B’s own Amie Fields has become North Carolina’s first certified pommelier – an expert in all things cider.

“I am super excited to represent the South as one of the first to pass the challenging pommelier exam,” says Fields. “I love advocating for cider and helping people learn more every day about a topic so rich in history and tradition that is redefining itself in the modern world.”

Fields, who has been in the wine industry her entire career, was attracted to the diversity of cider, which is becoming a hot commodity today. “It can be like wine. It can be like beer. It can have similar flavor profiles to a cocktail. The possibilities are endless,” she says. But let’s not call cider a beer or a wine – it’s its standalone beverage.

Hard cider has been seeing a huge emergence in American culture these days, as Fields talks about an example while at Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition. “You see native and wild fermentation and even Basque-style ciders that rival Spain’s. Recently while I was a judge at GLINTCAP, one of the natural ciders in the top 3 best in class was an American cider holding its own with 2 other well known cideries from Spain,” Fields says.

Fields, who is also a level one sommelier, took her final exam to become a pommelier earlier this year in Michigan. The exam builds upon the level one cider certification exam she previously completed. 

“I love changing people’s minds on cider with new and exciting versions that are so different from the mass produced brands that people are used to seeing in the market.”