The apples are hand picked rain water washed and checked for rot or mould. Apples
which are badly rotting are discarded.
We then crush our apples in a machine called a scratter attached to an electric motor
which chops them up into small pieces. This pulp is then put into a half barrel ready
for the next stage.
A traditional 200 year old hand driven oak screw press was our first. The pulp is
first wrapped in fine Hessian like mesh cloths, like parcels, and eight of these
are stacked on top of each other and used to make one pressing - called a cheese.
The press is then tightened down to several tons pressure allowing the juice to extract
into the ceramic holding sinks.
The juice is strained and then placed into 56 gallon Scottish oak whisky barrels
which are stored in our cool barn. Our barrels come from the famous Bruichladdich
Distillery on the coast of Islay and impart a distinctive peaty undertone and colour
to our cider.
The natural yeasts in the apples start the fermentation and after several months
we seal the barrels and allow the cider to develop and mature.
Our Apples - Hawkins Rough Orchard
In the Eastern Counties - Sussex up to Norfolk and our area, Kent, - the tradition
for cider is to use a mixture of eating and cooking apples with the greater the variety
of apples used, the better as they all have different characteristics and give a
depth of flavour and sweet / acid balance which increases the interest of our ROW
cider. We have a predominant mixture of Bramley's with Worcester and Crispin to add
additional sweetness if required.
When do we make our cider?
Producing our Rough Old Wife cider takes place from late September to early in the
New Year and depending upon ambient temperatures, fermentation can take until the
following spring. It is a fun time as all the hard work transforms into monitoring
the gently bubbling barrels.
We let nature take its course and this means that our cider is ready the following
year from around may onwards depending upon the temperatures.
We are a small local producer making around 70 hectolitres per year which ensures
quality and allows a tax exempt status.
Serving our ROW real cider
Depending on facilities or turnover in the licenses premises, our cider is served
from an innovative bag-in-the box container either on the bar or in the cellar.
These systems extend the shelf life to several weeks or months and are similar to
the well accepted Australian wine box system & prevent the spoiling of our cider
by excluding all air during draw-off, thus preventing airborne contamination or spoiling
Further Information on UK and World Cider and Cider / Cyder making can also be seen
on the excellent write-up in Wikipedia
"How many can you handle?!"
"Dry and clear with a rich apple bouquet and a hint of aged Scottish whisky and oak