Cider was made on the farm until my grandfather decided with the arrival of mechanization that it was unsafe and the consequent move away from horse and man power left less need for refreshment while on the job.
The old stone mill decayed and the rest of the equipment was sold, given away or fell into disrepair. I started from scratch again.
Oliver’s motto is to “take what the fruit gives” and from there we try to intervene as little as possible.
So when the fruit arrives at the mill, we check it over to see how long we will sweat it for and work out rough milling proportions to get enough acidity balance in each pressing.
When ready for pressing the fruit is washed and then milled. Some perry pears are then macerated for up to 48 hours.
Then the milled fruit is pressed on either a rack and cloth press or a belt press.
The resulting juice is pumped into tanks or wooden barrels for fermentation.
Now it starts to get interesting and we run the gauntlet with no sulphur addition and just let the wild, native yeasts do their thing.
Ferments are at ambient temperatures and usually/ inevitably continue through the winter, finishing in the spring when the alcoholic ferment may be simultaneous with the malolactic in some situations.
Through blossomtime and beyond we keep checking the state of play of the resulting ciders and perries and start to draw up a plan for each barrel or tank. Is it destined for a single varietal, a blend, a vintage, a naturally conditioned? So many possible outcomes and each barrel suggests to us, in it’s own way, what it’s future destiny is.
Then when the time has come, we blend the various ciders and perries, choosing the best from the barrels and tanks we have, to get the right harmonious balance of sweetness, acidity and the astringency/bitterness of the tannins.
Then we bottle or package in Bag in Box for draught, finally labelling to be ready for you to come, taste and buy.