how we make the sparkling ciders

Our orchards

Ashridge Sparkling Ciders are made from apples harvested in old South Devon orchards. All our orchards are certified organic. They are all well established with “standard” trees, many of which are at least 60 years old. There are at least fifteen varieties of genuine cider apple trees which produces a rich and well balanced juice. We use 100% pure juice in our cider, nothing else. The pure juice is fermented and matured using natural wild yeasts. After approximately six months the fermentation ceases. The cider is then mixed with a special champagne yeast and a small measured amount of cane sugar.

First fermentation

The mixture is then transferred into full strength champagne bottles where a secondary fermentation takes place. The bottles are then stored horizontally at a low constant temperature for a year. The secondary fermentation makes the cider sparkling with a profusion of tiny bubbles. The taste of the cider also assumes some of the characteristics of a classic wine based champagne. This is due to the breaking down or “autolysis” of the yeast and only occurs if the cider is left on the “lees” for a long period.

Secondary fermentation

The sediment produced during the secondary fermentation is removed by an ingenious method. The bottles are gradually inverted thereby getting the sediment to settle onto the cap. To do this, a nifty rack called a “pupitre” is used to hold the bottles as they are gradually turned and tilted upright. This is done every day for about a month. With the bottle still upside down the top inch is frozen. Then the cap is removed and the “plug” of sediment is forced out by the pressure built up during the secondary fermentation. Any shortfall is immediately replaced by a “dosage” of cider and cane sugar, to the level of “brut” or dry in champagne wine terms. If we are making “Devon Blush” it is at this stage we add the blackberry.

Finally

Finally, a proper champagne style cork is inserted and wire cage attached. The alcohol content is 7.5% vol.This traditional method or “méthode champenoise” is a long, fairly complicated process. Although recently pioneered and resurrected when applied to cider by James Lane from Haslemere, there is evidence that secondary in-bottle fermentation began, not in Champagne, but with ciders in the Forest of Dean in the 17th century. This type of cider was held in high esteem in many quarters, and was often the preferred alternative to French wines. Sparkling Cider - Vintage and Devon Blush

Taste it and see

Ready to drink....Mmmmmm

Ready to drink….Mmmmmm

We are not trying to suggest we can compete with the best French wines but feel that we have here a product which stands on it’s own merits. It is good value, of high quality, and innovative. There is a long standing tradition of cider making in Devon. Tastes and traditions change with time. The cider apple orchards of today are a mere fraction of what existed say, even 50 years ago. At present there is a significant revival of interest in orcharding. Ashridge Cider, in its own small way is helping to continue the management and survival of our orchards, which are such an important part of the Devon landscape.

Sparkling Vintage Cider

Sparkling Vintage Cider