What can I say?! We’re absolutely over the moon to announce that we came away with First Prize at The Big Apple Cider Trials this weekend!
Entering the Cider Trials
For our first attendance at a competition event, its safe to say I was pretty nervous to go along! We’re new to the cider game itself, so with a little encouragement, we decided it would be a brilliant learning experience – and would give us a chance to sample some of the best ciders in the UK!
Our entry was submitted on Saturday morning, to a wonderful friendly welcome! A nerve-wracking couple of hours later, I returned for the judging. The look on my face must have been a picture – ‘don’t look so nervous!’ was the first thing said to me! The great thing about The Big Apple is that it’s judged completely anonymously by fellow craft cider makers, rather than a judging panel.
We entered the novice class, a class specifically for new makers (less than 3 years). Whilst you ordinarily just vote in your own class, the great thing about it is that they also invite a select number of experienced makers to also vote on the novice class, so you get some great feedback.
We entered our Single Variety Brown Snout cider. We were really happy with the batch, even though it was this season’s pressing and still really young, the fermentation had finished up really clean, down to an impressive 1.001 which gave us a rather warming 7.74% ABV. Our cider was wild-fermented, so using only naturally occuring yeast on the apples themselves, resulting in a unique flavour profile and wholly natural product.
Absolutely blown away to be awarded First Prize on the day – here I am, looking completely bewildered at what just happened – but in such incredible company alongside these talented makers!
The feedback that we got from everyone was just so wonderful. We knew we had made a lovely drop, but to hear it from those experienceds makers meant so much to us. When the votes were announced, we actually received 100% of the votes in the category! Bonkers!
The Big Apple: Public Tasting Days
All of the entries were then available for public tasting for the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend. The comments were also really positive! Until now, we’ve just made cider for our own trials, for development, for practice and to make sure we put in the time to get the best product that we can from our fruit. To then have it out there for people to taste was a huge leap, but so pleased we did it and we’ve learned so much. Such a boost of positivity for our hard work.
Thank you everyone – we couldn’t do it without you!
So much hard work went into this! From Grandad planting the trees in 1964 and looking after them for a lifetime, to Mum being out there in all weathers harvesting her little socks off. From Kris and myself being out in the shed ’til goodness knows when, washing, milling, pressing, to Dad, coming up with brilliant solutions to problems, finding ways forwards and keeping us going! Also, a big shout out to everyone who had apples from us this season. The apple sales help us to move forward in our plans and you directly support the preservation of our old orchards. Without you, we couldn’t do anything at all.
Big shout out to the others in our class & the wider show also. It was great to taste so many wonderful ciders! It was wonderful to catch up with friends and meet lots of new faces. Sending out a huge congratulations to all of those who came away with awards!
If you get chance to pop to The Big Apple next year, do! It’s a wonderful event, with such friendly people attending and hosting. We were new, but immediately felt part of the family as soon as we arrived. There’s lots going on, too – orchard walks, talks on orchard maintenance, traditional Morris Dances, cake, stalls and lots more 🙂