Red Hill Cider Show 2020

The Australian Cider Awards has been running since 2011. The issue for amateur cidermakers is that entry is only possible for commercial producers. Commercial producers can enter the Red Hill Cider Show but so can non-commercial / home / amateur cidermakers.

For the latest information re the Show including the judging panel see the website Red Hill Cider Show

For the classes that can be entered see the Exhibitor Guide

You have the opportunity of benchmarking your cider or perry against other amateur makers and commercial producers. The particularly valuable aspect is: “All entries will receive judging comments”

If you’ve been wondering how your product compares with peers of the same type and/or how you might improve it then those comments may well be valuable. Apart from that you may be surprised by good your cider is. Last year’s results – see their website for the link – shows a number of silvers and bronzes for the amateur entries.


Iconic cider operation for sale

If you want a head start for your cider making plans ….

Small Acres Cyder at Borenore NSW is currently being offered for sale. Three bedroom home, shed set-up for cider making, cellar door, established orchard of cider variety apples situated in the cool climate district of Borenore at 887m ASL. The property is 13km from Orange on the wine tourism circuit.

Contact David Dent at Benchmark, Orange.

You can also see the quality of the cider produced from this property via the Small Acres Cyder website.

What yield of apples can you expect?

I guess everyone has heard the expression “how long is a piece of string”. Apple yields – cider apple yields – are like that piece of string because there are so many factors to consider. The variety, the rootstock, the year, the age of the tree, seasonal weather, irrigation etc etc etc. But for someone who wants an approximate indication of yield the figures quoted are last seasons yield on a variety by variety basis. Yields could generally be increased with a generous irrigation program but, as with wine grapes, less can often be more.

Please read the apple harvest notes above to get a better understanding of the variables involved in the quoted yield figures. My thanks to Kevin Dodds of NSW Dept of Primary Industries for reviewing the notes and suggesting changes and additions.

The yield of 15,000 litres of juice from an area of 100m * 100m would translate into a lot of 330mL or 750mL bottles. Cider is commonly made by blending a mix of varieties but some of these varieties are successfully made into “varietal” ciders. The choice is up to the cider producer.

Red Hill Cider Show

The Australian Cider Awards has been running since 2011. The issue for amateur cidermakers is that entry is only available to commercial producers.

If you are a hobby/home/amateur cidermaker you can enter a show such as the Red Hill Cider Show

https://www.redhillshow.com.au/cider-show/

which accepts entries from both commercial and amateur cider makers.

You have the opportunity of benchmarking your cider or perry against other amateur makers and commercial producers. The particularly valuable aspect is: All entries will receive judging comments”

If you’ve been wondering how your product compares with peers of the same type and/or how you might improve it then those comments may well be valuable.

Check the Red Hill website quoted for details of cost, how to enter, how much to supply etc etc

Cider orchard with dwarf trees?

Up until recently I’ve considered that developing a large scale cider orchard on dwarfing rootstocks is inviting trouble. Commercial eating apple orchards have progressively been planted on the more dwarfing rootstocks. This has been for various reasons: ease of management, ease of harvesting and earlier return on investment figure prominently. The downside is higher initial investment with more trees required per hectare and more infrastructure eg trellising or other support. If the return for cider can justify it, the hand picking of fruit from dwarf trees is vastly easier and quicker than from taller trees. Hand picking of early crops from dwarf trees is similarly justified so as not to compromise early tree training.

With most cider orchards the aim is not to have a particular form of tree but to produce consistent crops of apples for a low unit cost. This is where mechanical harvesting comes in. And mechanical harvesting is the default option for most of the English cider orchard operations. But then most English cider plantings are on semi-dwarf (or larger/stronger) rootstocks.

The issue with dwarf cider orchards is that until recently there seemed little likelihood of mechanical harvesting being feasible. With dwarf trees, conventional butt-shaking commonly causes tree damage, even to the extent of breaking the tree at the graft union or trunk/root junction. Work by Washington State University with modified over-the-row harvesters (one ex berryfruit) has produced good capture of fruit from the tree. If desired, earlier windfall fruit on the ground can be collected using conventional sweeping equipment. The over-the-row form of harvesting also has the advantage of not being a stop-start process that requires precise locating and gripping of butts so should also evolve into a quicker harvesting operation.

“Feasibility of Different Harvest Methods for Cider Apples: Case Study for Western Washington”

Suzette P. Gallinato, Carol A. Miles, . Travis R. Alexander

 

 

 

For the fresh fruit trade, such mechanically harvested fruit from the tree and from the ground would not be of acceptable quality – and hence not economic. But for apples that within hours will be scratted and pressed and on their way to becoming cider, the mechanical harvesting route is quite acceptable. It may also come about that the work being put into robotic fruit location and harvesting for the fresh fruit trade will reach the stage of feasibility. Whether the harvesting rate would match non-robotic rates is doubtful but the higher quality of robotic harvested fruit may well be desirable for certain juice or cider products.

Combine mechanical harvesting with over-the-row spraying that incorporates spray capture plus associated spray recycling and the orchard operations have a much better chance of meeting increasingly stringent environmental requirements. It will also bring savings for those same spraying operations both in operating time and chemical usage.

As an aside, there is debate about whether there are differences in amounts of flavour compounds, tannin etc in the outer (ie the skin and first few millimetres) of the apple fruit vs the bulk of the apple flesh. If this is so then it follows that small apples with a higher surface to volume ratio would contribute more to the final cider than do larger fruit. The issue here in trying to harness any advantage via small fruit is that hand harvesting small fruit is very labour intensive and therefore costly. This is obviously a dis-incentive to growing small fruited cultivars. Conversely the fruit size makes no difference to the mechanical harvester, leaving the choice of cultivar more open.

Cider apple varieties in Australia

The NSW DPI produced a poster in 2008 of the 30 varieties of cider apple in Australia that appeared to be true-to-type. Since that time the number of varieties has grown to  34 and two posters have been developed (thank you Jenny) which illustrate those 34 varieties and place them in their respective classes eg sweet, bittersweet etc.

The posters differ in that one – “Cider Varieties” – simply shows the varieties in their classes and the other adds a chart to explain the acid and tannin (polyphenol) relationship for the various classes. You are welcome to download the pdf files and print them. I would ask that if you are using them for other than your own use that Cideroz be acknowledged as the source.

Cider Apple Varieties in Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cider Varieties in Australia plus Chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some words of explanation regarding “cider varieties”. There is no reason why cider cannot be made from any apple juice. But the results can be disappointing since varieties of apple bred for eating do not necessarily have the characteristics that make for a good cider. The 34 varieties in these posters are those that have been imported into Australia (from Britain and France) at various times because of their suitability for making cider.

There are other “nominally” cider varieties in some Australian collections but they are not yet proven to be true-to-type ie they do not appear to agree with the same variety in the country of origin.

Batlow Cider Events – May 2018

Further information re the cider events coming up in Batlow in May.

Cider Australia will be holding their AGM on Thursday 17th May with the meeting scheduled for 2pm at the Batlow RSL. At 5pm there will be an Open Meeting regarding cider Brand Proposition and Export Workshop. See link below on the Wine Australia website.

https://www.wineaustralia.com/whats-happening/export-and-regional-wine-support-package/cider

Further details re the meeting on Thursday:   http://www.cideraustralia.org.au/events/annual-general-meeting-cider-australia/

 

 

The annual Cider Conference will be held on Friday 18th May at the Batlow Literary Institute. Headline speaker for the Conference will be noted cider educator and cider maker Peter Mitchell from the UK (see further info about Peter at http://www.cider-academy.co.uk)

The full Conference program is now available – see link below:                              2018 Cider Industry Conference Program

Bookings have opened for the Cider Conference.                              http://www.ticketebo.com.au/ciderindustryconference

Saturday 19th May will see the Batlow CiderFest. Check the website  http://www.batlowciderfest.com.au     for information and contact details about having a cider stall, being an entertainer or coming along on the Saturday.                        The CiderFest alcohol stall coordinator is interested to hear from any cider producers that might be interested in staying on in Batlow for the CiderFest on the day following the conference.  Having a stall at the festival is a great way for producers to offset some travel costs.

Here’s the link to the Alcohol Stallholder EOI for 2018. http://www.batlowciderfest.com.au/f.ashx/2018-Alcohol-Stalls-EOI.pdf

EOI’s close 19th March.

Australian Cider Awards 2017

p1130606Entries have closed for the 2017 Awards. Entires in 2016 set a new record and entries in 2017 have surpassed that number. Judging will take place on 26 & 27 September in Melbourne. Results will be announced at the Presentation Dinner on Friday 27th October in Melbourne – tickets through the Cider Australia website.

In addition to the Dinner in Melbourne on the 27th, there will be a meeting of Cider Australia on Saturday 28th as well as a producers Forum Again, details and tickets through the Cider Australia website.

2016 Cider Conference – BATLOW – Friday 20th May

It’s on again !

What : 2016 Cider Industry Conference
When : Friday 20th May 2016
Where : Batlow, NSW
 
 

Why should you attend ? : The Cider Industry Conference is the only event of it’s type convened specifically for the cider industry in the Oceania Region.  You won’t want to miss our International guest presenter Dr Carol Miles of Washington State University speaking on the North American Hard Cider industry, cider characterisation, mechanical harvesting and orchard design.


Our guided Cider Appreciation session will be a unique opportunity to taste some traditional single variety ciders.  This session will be led by industry legend Mr Drew Henry (Henry’s of Harcourt) featuring some of Australia’s pioneer single variety ciders.  We hope to pair the ciders with some actual fruit of that variety….it promises to enlighten your palate.


Last year tickets for the conference sold-out prior to the event. Seats are limited, so I encourage you to book ASAP.
See you in Batlow this May for the 2016 Cider Industry Conference and Batlow CiderFest.
Kevin Dodds | Development Officer – Temperate Fruits
Department of Primary Industries | Agriculture NSW
64 Fitzroy Street  Tumut, NSW 2720 | PO Box 3  Tumut NSW 2720
T: 02 6941 1405  F: 02 6947 4149  M: 0427 918 315  

Cider apple blossom

Apple varieties generally produce more fruit when the blossom is fertilised with pollen from a different variety. In order for this to take place it’s necessary to have varieties that reach the appropriate stage of flowering at “about” the same time. The flowers of cider apple varieties go through the same stages of development as do eating apple varieties and the critical period of the blossoming is between king-bloom and full-bloom.

Improved Foxwhelp king02

Apples generally have flowers in clusters and king-bloom is when the first (generally central) blossom opens. Full-bloom is when all the blossoms of a cluster have opened and before petals start to fall.

Because there is a lot of variation of blossoming stage within a tree and between trees, it is not possible to precisely define when a particular variety reaches these stages. Essentially the ascribing of a date for king-bloom or full-bloom is by “averaging” the blossom stages of a given tree. For this reason it is obvious that some flowers will be open ahead of and behind the nominal dates, but the period of receptivity is at a maximum in the nominated period.

Yarlington Mill fullbloom02

Other factors such as weather and bee activity will also naturally play a part in determining how efficient the pollination period will be in setting a crop. When the king-bloom to full-bloom period occurs can vary year-to-year as can the duration. 2015 blossoming was over a very short period. The dates will also vary within districts depending on local microclimates and between districts depending on altitude etc. Generally the sequence of varieties flowering is relatively stable – but not absolute!

The chart below is for the cider varieties just finished blossoming in 2015. For other years please contact davidp at cideroz.com  LL Cider Phenology 2015j  Double-click the chart to get a clearer image. The variety Granny Smith is not generally considered a “cider” apple although is can be useful for adding acidity to a blend. The main reason for including it in the blossoming chart is to give a reference point so that it is possible to get an idea when the cider varieties will bloom.