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In 2003, John Wiedenheft III started making wine using five-gallon carboys in his basement. It started off as a hobby, but as he became more knowledgeable (and the wine more delicious) John’s wine became a reason for friends and family to gather at his home. Like any artist, John took pleasure in sharing his craft with friends, but as it became more popular he realized that buying grapes shipped all the way from California wasn’t really cost-effective. His son, John IV (known as “Jay” to the family), had been “sampling” his dad’s wines and wanted to be more involved. In 2005 the pair began working with apples, planting the seeds that would eventually grow into Tapped Apple Cidery & Winery.

As their skills evolved, John and Jay began creating their own vintages. They experimented with supplemental ingredients like Cherries, Elderberries and even Hops. Their passion for winemaking and innovative recipes resulted in craft wines unlike anything else in southern New England. Their friends and family took notice of the new wines at gatherings and started asking if they could buy it. John and Jay weren’t able to sell their wines at the time, but they were happy to share it and took note of the rising popularity.

Tapped Apple (18 of 62).jpg
Tapped Apple (16 of 62).jpg

In 2017, fourteen years after John filled his first carboy of wine, he created Tapped Apple Cidery & Winery and brought a tasting room to Downtown Westerly. It was an opportunity for John and Jay to share their passion with the local community in a space as carefully crafted as their wine, as well as a chance to get more family involved. Jay’s son, John V (affectionately known as "5" inside the family), is now learning the trade from his father and grandfather. Because every sip of Tapped Apple Hard Ciders and Wines are made by the Wiedenheft family, “Five” is learning to care for the wine through the entire process, from the bushel, to the barrel, to the bottle.

The tasting room has grown. It now offers almost a dozen varieties of apple wines and hard ciders, charcuterie boards made to order, gourmet chocolate truffles, artwork from local artists and even live entertainment. It’s a place where the Wiedenhefts continue their tradition of gathering with family and friends to share their work, and where knowledge continues to be passed from father to son.  

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