The Gravenstein Apple has played an important role in the history and culture of California’s western Sonoma Valley since the 1900s. By 1945 when plantings peaked, over 14,000 acres of the area were covered with Gravenstein apple trees. Unfortunately there are far fewer today with thousands of acres being replanted with grape vines. Slow Food has declared the Gravenstein apple to be a "Heritage" food that should be protected from further encroachment. The fruit has long been sought after by chefs for its elegant balance of sweet and tart flavors and its crisp flesh. It also makes the best cider around. Here is where Katz efforts come in...they take this hard cider made from late ripening Gravenstein apples when the sugars are high, and then carefully and slowly convert the cider into vinegar using the traditional Orleans method. The result is a pleasant, traditional elixir, redolent of baked apples, honey and sweet spice balanced with a solid backbone of acidity.