Family is the mortar that holds the business together here at Rural Ridge. Vintage Virginia Apples and Albemarle Ciderworks grew out of the close ties and hard work ethic of the Shelton family, and has since grown to encompass a talented team of "adopted family" over the years, who help with everything from educating visitors about our ciders in the tasting room to grafting trees and assisting in the cidermaking.
Chuck is the family scientist and is a major player behind the success of Albemarle CiderWorks today. His interest in cider craft inspired our creation of Albemarle CiderWorks, and his dedication to showcasing the heirloom varietals grown here at Rural Ridge Orchard is the vision that defines our ciders . He holds degrees in Environmental Science and Zoology from the University of Virginia and North Carolina State.
In Carolina he met and married Margaret Elizabeth Goodman whose family has deep roots in coastal North Carolina where they raised their three sons. He retired from a career with Carolina Power and Light in 2005 in order to spend more time with family, particularly his aging parents at Rural Ridge.
Charlotte has worn many hats over the years, often simultaneously, and acting as the CEO of Vintage Virginia Apples hasn't changed any of that. The first born of the Shelton siblings, Charlotte has career backgrounds in both academics (history) and the finance industry, and both serve her well in her latest endeavor here. As any visitor to the Albemarle CiderWorks tasting room will discover, cider enjoys a rich history with deep roots in both Europe and America, and it is Charlotte's special pleasure to educate our patrons about that history. Additionally, Charlotte is the force behind planning and organizing workshops and special events, and exploring new avenues to enhance the production and enjoyment of our ciders. As an avid cook, she is also the palate behind many of the suggested food pairings accompanying our cider tasting notes- check them out, she won't steer you wrong!
Bill is the third child born to the Shelton family, and he is the brains behind the organization and upkeep of the nursery part of the business at Vintage Virginia Apples. While holding down a day job with the Commonwealth's housing and community development department, Bill somehow finds time each weekend to come out to the farm and organize the cider pressings, dig tree orders, lay out the grafting plan for the year, collect scion wood, and generally keep things running smoothly. Bill’s career has focused on helping communities across the state to capitalize on traditional assets including value added agriculture and views his farm activities as a perfect extension of his core values of family, heritage and community.
Anne Shelton, the daughter of Bill Shelton, came on board as Tasting Room Manager in 2010. Since then, she has become more involved in the operations of the cidery. She contributes to the marketing, bookkeeping, tasting room, and general operations of the business. One of her biggest roles at the cidery is the coordination of the Vintage Virginia Apples Harvest Festival every year. She is involved in the Virginia Association of Cider Makers and their mission to educate consumers about Virginia Cider. In her spare time, she enjoys photography and working with local community theaters.
Tom Burford is the scion of an old Virginia family who were orchardists for generations in Amherst County and is a connection of the Sheltons who also hail from Amherst. His Burford Brothers Nursery was the source of the first trees the Sheltons planted at their Rural Ridge Farm in Albemarle County. His work has been the inspiration for Rural Ridge Orchard and Vintage Virginia Apples. Both he and the Sheltons see Albemarle CiderWorks as a logical extension of their interest in vintage apples. His Apples: A Catalog of International Varieties has been the motivating force informing numerous small orchards across the country. His Apples of North America: Exceptional Varieties for Growers, Gardeners and Cooks, published by Timber Press, won the 2014 American Horticulture Society Book Award. He consults with many historic properties and individual property owners nationwide and occasionally internationally. His expertise and enthusiasm has earned him the soubriquet "Professor Apple." He teaches classes and workshops on grafting, apple tastings,pruning, and a wide variety of other related subjects. Vintage Virginia Apples is proud to call him our own.
Jared Hardy is the newest member of the Albemarle CiderWorks family. Born in Santa Barbara, raised in Wisconsin, and educated in Virginia, he is thrilled to be in Cville. While pursuing his studies, a short stint in Europe marked the beginning of his journey into fermented beverages. Jared immediately fell in love with wine, food, and the culture of community that surrounds both. After receiving his WSET 3 Award in Wine and completing a B.S. in Cinematic Arts, Jared pursued various positions within the Virginia beverage industry that have developed his hands-on experience in wine production, sales, marketing, and events.
Recently, Jared has pivoted into the digital space as he pursues an M.S. in Marketing – Social Media. The last year found Jared working in sales for a distribution company, rounding out his wine business experience. As a new arrival to the cider community, Jared is excited to hit the ground running, expanding his understanding of the beverage's history, production, and culinary opportunities. He hopes to bring a new perspective, passion, and a unique approach to cider-focused experiences and community engagement. When not in the office, this enthusiastic home cook, foodie, and yogi is forever searching for off-the-beaten-track adventures Cville has to offer.