The Cider Makers Year

Winter

The orchards are dormant. We've had a couple of harsh winters over the last few years up here in Herefordshire.

Most of the cider in the barn has finished fermenting, but late harvested apples can ferment very slowly in the cold weather over the winter.

Spring

 

As the blossom starts to come out and the air warms up, we look forward to another summer season. Last years cider is all either maturing in casks or is bottled or in kegs being delivered to nationwide beer & cider festivals or local pubs.

A beautiful view through to one of our orchards in full bloom with the Herefordshire countryside in the background.

 

Summer

 

A good crop this year for the "Tom Putt" trees.

We're monitoring the apples closely now, and can normally tell which varieties will produce a good crop. Different trees like different conditions, so a heavy cropping year for one variety does not mean all the trees will do well. We are also busy making sure that all our equipment for harvesting and pressing is in good working order. We normally have a full clean out of the cider barn in the summer months.

A great crop of apples!

Here at Gillow, we look to the future. A young orchard of Kingston Black apple trees planted a few years ago will be producing great fruit in about 10 years time. We also have plans to plant some perry pear trees, which will be ready for harvesting in about 20 years!

Autumn

The cidermakers busiest season! We begin the harvest when the apples are ripe, and this can vary from year to year, depending on the weather that year.

Bulmers Norman apples ready for harvesting

The oldest tree in this orchard didn't make it through the summer and came down in September this year. The sheer weight of apples on an old tree can be enough to bring it down in high winds.

Different varieties ripen at different times, which is good news for us - if we had to collect all the apples at the same time we wouldn't have enough room to store them!

The apples are stacked ready for washing, sorting, milling and pressing.

They might not win a beauty contest, and you probably wouldn't see them on the supermarket shelves, but they make great tasting cider! Cider apples come in all shapes and sizes.