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International Cider Maker Interviews

Cidery: Gwatkins Cider
Cider maker: Denis Gwatkin
Country: UK

 

Q: What does the cider making process look like for you/your cidery? Do you lean more toward the traditional methods or do you take a more innovative or modern approach?

A: We are one of the largest if not the largest traditional cidermakers in Britain. By traditional we mean that we only allow natural fermentation to occur, we don’t use sulphites to kill off the natural yeast and substitute them with a wine yeast. Our orchards are first marked on our 1830 map so cidermaking has a long tradition on our farm, which started out as a grange fro the nearby abbey in 1147.

 

Q: What do you like most about cider making?

A: Tasting the end product after months of slow fermentation in our wooden barrels

 

Q: What is something you wish more people knew about cider/cider making?

A: We wish people to understand this is a traditional family business with cider naturally fermented by wild yeasts, a taste of the past before Louis Pasteur started advising other cidermakers in the late nineteenth century

 

 

Cidery: Napton Cidery
Cider maker: Jolyon Olivier
Country: UK

Q: What does the cider making process look like for you/your cidery? Do you lean more toward the traditional methods or do you take a more innovative or modern approach?

A: We are a traditional cider makers and our cider takes around 9+ months to produce. We are geared towards wine methods rather than the mainstream cider techniques.

 

Q: What do you like most about cider making?

A: We enjoy the whole process and the diversity of cider that can be made for us it is very much about enjoying the fruits of life and how good cider can taste.

 

Q: What is something you wish more people knew about cider/cider making?

A: We wish more people were aware of how diverse cider can be and the different in juice content to get when you purchase a cider. We believe people should be able to drink whole juice ciders and know how much fruit is in them. Staggering the gap from wine to cider should be known and we believe most of the cider sold in the world is made more like beer and is not in keeping with the wine style methodologies that cider should have. Indeed everyone is free to make what they see fit but we just desire more consumers to know how the products are made and how tasty they can be. I have tasted various ciders in New York, North Carolina and Orlando and find a similar trend in the states. Cider can taste amazing if made with the methodology of wine and that should be shared all over the world.

 

 

 

Cidery: Ferme de l’Yonnière
Cider maker: Jérôme Forget
Country: France

 

Q: Quel est votre regard sur la production du cidre en Normandie ? Pensez-vous que votre méthode s’inspire de processus traditionnel ou bien est-elle plus contemporaine/innovante ? (What does the cider making process look like for you/your cidery? Do you lean more toward the traditional methods or do you take a more innovative or modern approach?)

A: J’ai un regard uniquement sur les vergers traditionnels hautes tiges. Je ne m’intéresse point au vergers basses tiges. Pour moi, un arbre a besoin d’espace.

Ma pratique s’inspire des processus traditionnels. J’utilise des variétés endémiques que j’essaie de mettre en valeur en explorant l’association de différentes variétés. Ce point, c’est la partie innovante de ce que je fais. Si on parle de poiré, la cuvée Vinot donne un poiré sec qui se rapproche d’un vin blanc en associant les variétés Vinot, Pomera et Gaubert tandis que la cuvée monovariétale Fossey joue sur la subtilité et la rondeur d’une seule variété.

Il me paraît important aussi d’essayer de s’éloigner de l’image traditionnelle du cidre ou du poiré ; cette image quelque peu ringarde que on a trop souvent d’une boisson destinée à être servie avec des crêpes. Chaque variété de fruit a sa spécificité et j’aime associer le côté fruité avec de l’astringence ou une certaine amertume qui accompagnent parfaitement des poissons, des fruits de mer et aussi des fromages.

English-

I have a singular approach for traditional orchards made up of uniquely tall trees (context for translation: short trees have been “industrialized” and have pushed modern apple orchards to be a monoculture to increase profits.) I am not interested in low-stem orchards. For me, a tree needs space.

My [cidermaking] practice is inspired by traditional processes. I use endemic (aka local) varieties that I try to enhance by exploring it’s association with different varieties. This experiment is the innovative part of what I do. For example, if we talk about perry, the Vinot vintage gives a dry perry which is similar to a white wine by combining the Vinot, Pomera and Gaubert varieties while the monovarietal Fossey vintage plays on the subtlety and roundness of a single variety. I have trees on my orchard that have been there for hundreds of years. The perry we make is a perry that people 200 years ago worked to make happen. I want to keep this going so the future generations can also say the same thing.

It also is important to me to try to move away from the traditional image of cider or perry [in France]; that somewhat cheesy image that we too often have of cider as to only be drank with crepes. [context: In France, cider’s strongest cultural association is a drink that goes with eating savory crepes especially in the regions of Normandy and Brittany. If you go to a creperie, you order a bottle of cider and often no other alcohol is even on the menu.]  Each variety of fruit has its specificity and I like to associate the fruity side with astringency or a certain bitterness which goes perfectly with fish, seafood and also cheeses. There is work tobe done to educate the consumer. Our product has no additives or chemicals, completely natural. We are able to make a natural product because we use an ancestral method of making cider and perry that our grandparents taught us.

 

Q: Qu’est-ce qui vous a amené à travailler dans ce domains? Quelles satisfactions y trouvez-vous? (What do you like most about cider making?)

A: Je suis un paysan. Lorsque je suis arrivé à la Ferme de L’Yonnière en 1993, il y avait déjà des vergers avec des poiriers bicentenaires pour les plus âgés. C’était une évidence pour moi de conserver ces vergers et d’en planter d’autres. Ce sont des pré vergers. Mes vaches pâturent sous les arbres et contribuent à l’entretien du verger. Il y a une cohérence parfaite entre les animaux et la production de fruit (poires à poiré et pommes à cidre).

English-

I am a farmer. When I arrived at the Ferme de L’Yonnière in 1993, there were already orchards with 200 hundred year old pear trees there. It was obvious to me to keep these orchards and to plant others.  My mission now is to continue maintaining the existing orchard and keep planting new ones. The idea is to have over 1000 trees one day. It is a joy to plant trees. When we talk about farmers, we are people from the countryside, but we also have a creative side. An artistic side. It is something artistic in our own way. My work is about appreciating the countryside and when we love where we are we want to make it more beautiful. Another thing that motivates me to stick with this crazy world of orchard farming is that the orchards are also meadows. My cows graze under the trees and help maintain the orchard. It is what people have done here for centuries. There is a perfect coherence between the animals and the production of fruit (perry pears and cider apples).

I am very proud to make perry. It isn’t easy, especially during harvest. It is hard work and long days. But we are able to keep a traditional orchard going and save ancient trees that unfortunately are often cut down or mistreated.

 

Q: Avez-vous une anecdote sur l’histoire, l’image, la culture, etc. du cidre en Normandie pour les clients américains? (Do you have an anecdote on history, image, culture, etc. cider in Normandy for American customers?)

A: Lors d’une très belle journée ensoleillée au début de l’automne, j’ai reçu la visite de trois gars venus de Seattle. Je pensais, d’après le mail qu’ils m’avaient envoyé, que c’était des importateurs potentiels. Finalement, ils étaient en « mode touriste » et traversaient la France en « road trip ». Passionnés par la ferme, par mon activité et désireux de tout goûter, ils y ont passé un long moment avant de repartir vers leur location qui se trouvait, selon eux, « pas très loin ». Ni moi, ni ma femme n’avions connaissance du village où se trouvait leur hébergement et, après vérification, j’ai dû leur informer qu’il se trouvait de l’autre côté de la Normandie à plus de trois heures de route. Ils étaient fatigués et ils avaient faim. Nous avons suggéré qu’ils restent manger et qu’ils dorment à la ferme. Ils étaient d’accord pour dire que même si l’Américain a l’habitude de faire de longues distances en voiture, ils avaient mal calculé leur trajet. C’était au moment de la distillation. Ce soir-là nous avons partagé, auprès du feu de l’alambic, non seulement un repas, mais un moment de grande convivialité.

English-

On a beautiful sunny day in early fall, I was visited by three guys from Seattle. I thought from the email they sent me that they were potential importers. In the end, they were in “tourist mode” and crossed France on a “road trip”. Passionate about the farm, my activity and eager to taste everything, they spent a long time there before planning to go back to their rental which was, according to them, “not very far”. Neither I nor my wife knew the village where their accommodation was located and, after checking, I had to inform them that it was on the other side of Normandy more than three hours away. They were tired and hungry. We suggested they stay and eat and sleep on the farm. They agreed that even though the American used to drive long distances, they had miscalculated their route. It was at the time of distillation. That evening we shared, near the fire of the still, not only a meal, but a moment of great conviviality.

 

 

Cidery: VinVie (Matsukawa, Nagano)
Cider maker: Tsuyoshi Takemura
Country: Japan

Q: What is the cider making process like for you? Do you use more traditional methods or try more modern/innovative techniques?

A: We make modern style ciders and have four ciders in our regular lineup.
The first one is our standard dry cider. In this cider, we use seven kinds of table apples and one pear with white wine yeast.
The next one is a rose semi-sweet cider. This cider has red fresh apples and a little blueberry.
The third one is a sour cider. This cider is made with sour yeast wasp strains.
The last one is a pear cider (William Bartlett) and also fermented with a sour yeast wasp strain.
Someday, we would like to use wild yeast or use traditional methods of making cider

 

Q: What do you like most about making cider?

A:The fun thing about making cider is that I can think freely and make it however I want. There are various ways to make cider and each has its advantages/disadvantages

 

Q: Popularity wise, how do you think cider does in Japan? Has the popularity changed over the years?

A: It is still developing, but I believe that cider culture will bloom in Japan

 

Q: What is something you wish more people knew about cider or cider making?

A: Cider is a very free drink. Cider has no rules on how to drink it. Cider is more casual than wine and more fashionable than beer.

 

 

Cidery: Moriyama-en (Hirosaki, Aomori)
Cider maker: Toshihiko Moriyama
Country: Japan

Q: What is your cider brewing process? Are you using traditional methods or are you trying out more modern and innovative technologies?

A: We strive for innovation through traditional methods. Our brewing process is as follows: 1st fermentation takes place in open type thermal tank for two weeks, then we transfer to a pressure resistant closed thermal tank, mix in mature juice and carry out 2nd fermentation. No added sugars.

 

Q: What do you like most about cider making?

A:I like the fact that cider making covers (takes care of) the weaknesses of agriculture such as natural disasters, seasons and weather, etc. I like that apples are made once a year, but cider is made once a month, and the labor required is far less than that of farm work. Also, little waste and no expiration dates!

 

Q:In terms of popularity, how is your cider accepted in Japan? Has popularity changed in the last few years?

A:I’ve been producing “Tekikaka Cider” for two years, and I feel that the wind direction has changed 180 degrees after the first year. People are now really enjoying the taste of cider, and we received high evaluations from many people and received the highest award in last year’s Japan Cider Awards tasting competition.

 

Q: What do you want more people to know about cider and cider making?

A: Since cider is derived from apples, it is an alcoholic beverage that people who care about their health or who are not big fans of beer can easily enjoy.

 

 

InCider Japan Owner/Operator: Lee Reeve

Q: What is the cider making process like in Japan? Do they use more traditional methods or try more modern/innovative techniques?
A: There are basically two camps of cider making in Japan. Those with winemaking licenses produce modern ciders usually using Champagne method techniques. Those with beer brewing licenses are producing Graf-style co-fermented ciders that are usually hopped.

 

Q: Popularity wise, how do you think cider does in Japan? Has the popularity changed over the years?
A: Although cider has been available in Japan as early as 2015, popularity in cider didn’t really take off until 2018-2019. That’s when, in addition to inCiderJapan becoming a nationally circulated magazine, cider imports to Japan doubled.

 

Q:What is something you wish more people knew about cider or cider making?
A: Education about cider is still absolutely necessary if cider is to succeed and remain in Japan. Although the general public is coming around, it’s so far only had access to very limited styles of cider. In fact, inCiderJapan became an importer to fill this role, by bringing in quality ciders from around the world to Japan.

 

Huge thank you to all of the participating cider makers. Please check out each of these cideries and consider supporting them on social media!

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