There are words in different countries that translate as cider (eg cidre, sidra) and apfelwein – apple-wine – is a version from Germany.

Besides apfelwein, Germany has the product known as Speierling which traditionally is a cider from the Frankfurt area which though basically cider utilises tannin from the small fruit of the tree identified variously as Speierling, Speyerling or Service.

The Speierling tree is botanically known as Sorbus domestica. Although Wikipedia quotes it as being an endangered species in Germany it exists in various places in Australia and in some areas appears to be in danger of being declared a weed! The tree is quite distinct from an apple or a pear tree with compound leaves having – in the local examples – 13 leaflets whereas apples and pears have simple leaves. The sequence of flowering and fruiting is shown in the images below and the mature fruit is more reminiscent of a pear.























There are also some French products incorporating fruit from Sorbus domestica. The version from Eric Bordolet is Corme:

You may be able to find Speierling cider/apfelwein imported from Germany in more specialised Australian bottle shops. The product below was entered into the Australian Cider Awards some years ago:











If you are interested in having a try at making this style of cider you will obviously have to locate some trees that are fruiting. Various herbariums in Australia list localities for the Sorbus domestica tree. eg the Australian Virtual Herbarium and NSW PlantNET.   Then presumably you’ll need permission from the landholder, a very tall ladder and finally energy and patience to harvest the rather small fruit. A tarpaulin and long pole may be a workable alternative to the tall ladder…..

As mentioned earlier, Sorbus domestica will grow in Australia but probably the trees will take a number of years to start bearing fruit so planting trees should be viewed as a long term project.

If you are interested in the assorted other products (including Sorbette, a Sorbus schnapps) follow up through the website: