English and Norman ciders are famous and exported to many countries all over the world. They are widely available in Ontario and generally in North America. Although the continent produces millions of tonnes of apples, cider production has been declining for decades. The reasons for this unusual condition are easy to explain. First, the apples grown in Canada happen to be more suitable for out-of-hand eating than cider production, second cider manufacturers never understood the importance of marketing and lost a few generations of potential consumers, and third governments tax cider as all other alcoholic beverages – at a high rate.
Fortunately, a few entrepreneurial souls in the Prince Edward County some 120 km. East of Toronto on the northern shores of Lake Ontario decided to make quality cider from locally grown apples.
County Cider Company’s owner Grant Howes was the first to see the potential in producing fine ciders from the bountiful harvest of the Price Edward County’s Apple District on the Bay of Quinte.
He uses Northern Spy, Ida Red, Golden Russet, Crispin, Bulmers Norman, Yarlington Mill, Tremlette Bitter mad Mutsu apples, along with a few experimental Norman fruit.
must have high acidity to yields a clean tasting beverage.
After harvest, apples are ground and the mash placed on specially designed frames to be piled up on top of each other. Once the stack reaches its maximum capacity, pressing can start. The juice is then inoculated with cultured yeast to initiate fermentation.
The style of cider desired guides the cider maker in fermenting the juice dry, or leave a little residual sugar.
After the fermentation is completed or arrested to ensure desired sweetness, the cider must be filtered to render it brilliant.
may also be made sparkling by injection of carbon dioxide or using the champagne method.
The sweetness of cider ranges from .5 percent (8.0% ABV) to 6 percent (6.4percent ABV)
During a recent, visit to County Cider Co. I was impressed with their County 2000 dry, methode champenoise. It was fragrant, light, dry, with a balanced taste, and excellent, lively effervescence.
Jennifer, the cider- and winemaker (the company is starting to make and market wine) has just finished a specialised course in an attempt to excel in her chosen profession. The cidery is on the Cressy Bench with a spectacular view of the Gait Bay and Waupoos Island. Cider is a versatile beverage that can be enjoyed on its own, but also with food particularly with fruit-stuffed pork roasts, chicken in cream sauce, vegetable stews or cheese salads. Just make sure to select a dry cider.
The following ciders are available through the L C B O or at the cidery boutique which also serves light lunches at County Road 8, Picton 613 476 1022.
County Premium Cider 6.5 % ABV
Feral Cider 6.4% ABV
Waupoos Draft Cider 6.4 % ABV
Indian Point Cider 10.3 % ABV
County 2000 Sparkling 8.0% ABV