Wednesday 23 November 2011

Pressing Video

So, this is what cider makers do when they have no apples to press...

Well, in actual fact I am in the process of updating the website ready for the 2011 season ciders - writing up the variety lists and archiving the out of stock ciders. In addition I want to add a gallery of images and clips which give further provenance to the 146 Cider Company products. No, its not 'clever marketing' - its just trying to show clearly what we go through to make the cider.

That said, if the cider turns out badly, I will have to re-adjust the site! Anyway, I hope this is entertaining, if not at least a little informing.

Friday 4 November 2011

Hampshire Heritage... Naked!

Exclusive. Well, not really - but this is what Hampshire Heritage looks like before the hard work takes place. Its all about the apples you see, and after Fruitwise have done all the hard graft in taking care of the trees and nurturing the fruit I get it and squish it!

Actually, in the picture there is some fruit for Eastern Delight too. This is all now bubbling away albeit as the weather has remained stubbornly mild its maybe not quite as slowly as I would like. As I write this, these bags have been replaced by wooden crates with the last half a ton of Heritage cider fruit from Fruitwise and the first ton of cider fruit from Dorset for Wild West.

I can report that the fruit has been very good this year, and the speed of the season has slowed a bit due to the damp weather.

Late in October I was joined for an afternoon by a number of CAMRA members who were celebrating CAMRA's October 'cider' month. After a quick tour of the business (it lasts about 30 seconds!) they rolled up their sleeves, opened some cider and helped press fruit - now you don't get that experience everywhere! It was actually very enjoyable and if I can persuade them to send me some pictures I will post them up on here or on the website.

Finally, what has changed this year so far? Well, Fruitwise have all but abandoned Bramley as a variety and have been grafting them over to cider fruit. This will help me expand and develop Hampshire Heritage in the coming years so I am very happy about this indeed. The risk for this year though is because I do not add other orchards fruit to Heritage, so there is very little Bramley to give the acid kick. This is no bad thing and I am very keen to see how the milder desert acid works - I suspect the tannin will be slightly deeper too.

Wild West, whilst good in 2010 (and Highly Commended at Bath and West!) suffered a little from the acidic afterthought. This year it is planned and will be of the desert variety too. You could say that as a cidermaker I am trying to abandon Bramley too. I think a slightly greater percentage of milder desert fruit will still do the job of protecting the cider and also mellow the Chisel Jersey's heavy tannins.

Eastern Delight is the biggest change though. With over half a ton of Fruitwise desert fruit, it is joined this year by Russets and Cox's from Hill Farm Orchards (known for their juicing apples). This is kind of an unknown until it is ready, although it is going to be a nutty cider next year as there is a lot of Egremont Russet in it. I am looking forward to trying it.

And that is that. I had better get on and finish pressing eh!