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Ampleforth Abbey: A View from the Orchard

They say the best time to plant an apple tree was ten years ago, and the second-best time is of course now. It is over 50 years since Fr Edmund Hatton OSB planted a new and modern orchard on former pasture. A collection of varieties selected to provide a succession of ripening apples from early August through to December, with late storing varieities keeping the community and apple pie beyond Easter.

Their 50 year old trees, grafted onto dwarfing rootstocks, are now reaching the end of their lives – lasting much longer than similar trees in commercial orchards. To help future proof the orchard they are now replanting, taking out the most diseased and least productive trees to make way for new ones, a fantastic opportunity to introduce new varieties. Some have been chosen as they are less prone to disease where as others offer the opportunity to extend their range. This includes Belle de Boksoop and Ashmeads Kernel, two richly flavoured heritage apples, robust and very well suited to their location. In addition, they have also added Foxwhelp, Fillabarrel and Tremlett’s Bitter all ‘bitter sweets’ that will add a real bite to their cider.

Ampleforth cider already boast over 70 different varieties of apple! Some way off the 2,000 in the National Apple Collection at Brogdale, Kent. Many commercial orchards only grow around seven types! They are using their replanting programme to showcase more of their apple heritage and will be sure to delight the many visitors on the Orchard tours.

The Orchard tour makes a visit to the Abbey and surround valley well worth is. They begin each year with the first apple blossom and continue until the end of harvest in the autumn. Not only can you see a fully functioning Orchard first hand you can also taste apples that will never be found in supermarkets, such as Beauty of Bath, Irish Peach, Ribston Pippin and Pitmaston Pineapple.

The management of the orchard is of course of great importance and interest too. Although not certified organic, no chemicals are applied, preferring instead to manage pests and diseases by careful husbandry, selective pruning and by encouraging beneficial insects and birds. Their mowing regime means that the grass sward beneath the mature trees is now left uncut, helping to protect soil, reduce water loss and minimise compaction. It also enables small meadow flowers to flourish, and these, along with the trees and shrubs on the orchard’s perimeter, provide additional forage and habitat for beneficial insects and birds. These things all add interest for their visitors and help fulfil a mission to practice good land stewardship.

We can’t recommend a visit highly enough. But if you can’t make it to North Yorkshire then you can at least sample their cider by ordering from here – Ampleforth Products

 

Tim & Steve, the Ampleforth Pommeliers

 

All the luck you need – Touchwood now available at FTD!

Brand new to Fetch The Drinks, is a delightful cider from Cornwall – Touchwood Cider!

Here’s everything you need to know…

Touchwood Cornish cider is the result of a long term-project to reinstate apple growing to Cornwall. Therefore allowing Touchwood cider to grow apples and to reintroduce cider making to their small farm in Mithian.

Nigel Smith came to Woodlands farm in 1984. In the yard was an old granite circular trough. This trough was originally used for crushing cider apples. The old building was an old cider barn, however the apple orchards were long gone. In 1984 Cornwall County Council introduced a scheme to reinstate and save old varieties of Cornish apples.

Nigel started planting many different varieties of apples to his orchards. With nearly 30 varieties of apples, these are then crushed and pressed traditionally. We use only natural yeasts on the apples to ferment the apple juice. Afterwards it is racked and matured for over 12 months. Before we add the sugar we blend the apple juice.

Every harvest Touchwood work closely with WWOOF– World wide opportunities on organic farms. So if you are looking for the chance to meet a local family, and be close to some of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall, contact WWOOF for further details.

SHOP TOUCHWOOD AT FTD

Dry 

Medium 

Sweet

Top Cellar – Harrow Wood Farm

One of our top sellers this year has been Harrow Wood Farm! They were established in 2016 and have gone on to be one of our most popular ciders this year, especially at festivals looking to unearth the next cider gem. You can read how it all came about below and the grand plans for the future, with 800 tress recently planted on their camp site.

Dickie is an amazing character and is extremely passionate about his production, even if it does “make him sad to see the cider leave the barn!” 😂

Their story: (http://www.dickies-dribble.co.uk/history.html)

It all started just over 2 years ago on a trip to watch Bath Rugby with a good friend.
He’d been making cider for some time and produced about 10 gallons each year.

I had just finished running a holiday park in the Purbecks for 27 years and was looking for a fresh challenge.
So after further conversations with John, I bought two books. The first was entitled ,”Making Craft Cider,” by Simon McKie and the second was, “Craft Cider Making,” by Andrew Lea. I particularly liked these books as they had lots of pictures in them!

So starting from a blank sheet of paper I designed the barn I needed and what I thought was the right equipment.
This is where I found a wonderful firm called Vigo Ltd at Dunkerswell. It was like going into a sweetie shop with lots of shiny things that pressed, stored, cleaned, bottled, carbonated and labelled. A one stop shop for the budding novice. I believe they cater for grown ups as well!

So new barn assembled and equipment bought, I was ready to become an expert in a single bound. Well how hard can it be just rotting apples and seeing what it turns out like.


I also planted some 800 apple trees on my farm to produce my crop, in due course. They were Kingston Black, Dabinett, Katy, Somerset Red Streak and Browns.

The first year I managed to buy some apples from Mr Dan Green who has a little orchard in Chalmington just North West of Dorchester. I made two batches of cider, one was nearly all Browns and the other was Dabinett. The first batch turned out really well with the Yeast I added, but the second batch tasted like old bananas.

So to my first learning curve, you cannot just chuck in the juice, add yeast and hope. No you have to kill bacteria and wild yeasts and furthermore the sulphites won’t work if the Ph is over 3.8. So now I have to become a chemist, talk about all the gear and no idea!

So I took to my 2 books and read them properly this time, ascertaining that I really had to stabilise my Ph to about 3.5 by adding malic acid and then adding about 100-150ppm sodium metabisulphite to sterilize the apple juice. Then I had to wait 24 hours and add my cultured yeast. The results this year have been excellent and I have produced some tasty cider with no one dying.

 

MEDIUM CIDER: His Harrow Wood Farm cider is a blend of Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Browns.
This is an orange/golden colour with a slight dryness underneath the tongue when tasted.

Well worth a visit if you are in the area, even if just to hear Dickie’s passion for his cider alone!

Fetch The Drinks goes Continental!

We are now stocking four new cider producers, have you come across any before?

English football is celebrating a clean sweep of sides in the final of European competition, while here at Fetch The Drinks we now boast some of the finest European ciders in our ranks!

French Cider:

The French have been making cidre for centuries , particularly in Normandy and Brittany, with many English apple varieties originating from across the channel.

Breton Cider, Brut Traditionnel (5%) – a soft full-flavoured cider nurtured under the warm Brittany skies! Made from ripened varieties, these ciders now carry the AOC for the region.

Their Brut has a good tannin and an acidity blend or creme brulee sweetness and a perky fizz.

Wignac – a new orchard planted on the old Wignacourt’s estate in the Ardennes has reinstated the traditional 100% juice cider previously made by the Marquis.

Cidre Naturel (4.5%) – medium dry blend of 65% cider and 35% eating apples

Cidre Rose (4.5%) – medium sweet blend of 88% pure apple juice and 12% pure grape juice

Luxembourg Cider:

With no real cider background before the birth of Ramborn, who are reviving the tradition of cider-making, putting good use to the otherwise wasted fruit, and breathing new life into traditional orchards throughout the country.

Ramborn, Original (5.8%) – The first Luxembourgish cider producer fermenting only the freshly pressed juice of apples and pears grown exclusively in meadow orchards.

Their original is a medium dry blend of Rambo, Boskoop, Bonapfel and Luxemburger apples.

Spanish Cider:

The Asturias region of Spain has a passionate cider fan base, with some stunning ciders produces in the area but none with more heritage than El Gaitero.

El Gaitero – Exceptional Spanish craft cider from Asturias, Northern Spain where cider has been made for generations.

Medium Dry (5.5%) – freshly-pressed Spanish cider apples, naturally sun-ripened in local orchards

Red Grape (4%) – clear blood red with a taste of sweet red berries and apples

Meet the maker – New Forest Cider

Based in the stunning surroundings of Burley, New Forest Cider produce a range of products to match. Recently we were kindly invited in to hear their story. It’s a great day out with amazing heritage to look through before enjoying lunch in the Tea Rooms and popping in to the Farm Shop, where it’s not just cider you can purchase!

Drive into Burley and you will spot the cider barrel by the post office, “This way to the home of New Forest Cider”. Mind the wild ponies as you meander through to their road side Tea Rooms covering the secrets of the orchards and barns. Burley depicts everything you would expect from a traditional, New Forest Village, the rows of apple trees and gaggle of geese ensure your expectations of the cider production is no different. Beautifully quaint from the moment you arrive.

The cider barns are located a short walk up a track, where their products are made in the traditional way. Combining English apples from their own orchards and cider fruit from Somerset and Herefordshire. It’s definitely worth trying the unpasteurised, real cider straight from the barrels, there is usually dry, medium, sweet, Kingston Black and Perry as well as a selection of bottled ciders including a handcrafted Cider Bouche – which we can confirm is absolutely delicious!

They aim simply to produce an interesting, full juice, draught Cider that is free from artificial colouring and flavouring.

Shop New Forest Cider at Fetch The Drinks:

A dry traditional blended farmhouse cider filtered, still and clear in appearance and full flavoured. Available in; Dry, Medium, and Sweet.

Kingston Black: A classic single variety cider using the Kingston Black apple, filtered for a pleasingly dry traditional still version.

Mixed case of 12 bottles: A New Forest cider mixed case will consist of: Kingston Black, Traditional and Oak Soaked.

Recent Festivals their ciders went to:
Victoria Inn, Colchester
The White Swan, Stokesley
The Wash House, Milford on Sea
The Stable, Southampton
The Station House, Durham

If you are planning a trip to visit them why not make a weekend of it and join them for the annual steam pressing weekend. An amazing chance to thee cider making as it was done in days gone by, with the use of a variety of vintage presses ranging from a ‘workman’ steam driven mobile press to the simplicity of a hand operated twin screw press using straw.

FIND OUT MORE

 

 

 

Fetch The Drinks 7’s side to compete at Bournemouth

We are delighted to announce that we are entering our first Fetch The Drinks rugby side into the Bournemouth 7’s festival this May.

The squad is made up of Fetch The Drinks employees with a selection of friends from School and University. The tournament is over the last weekend of May and with over 30,000 spectators going through the gates last year, it promises to be another fantastic spectacle for players and fans alike. This opportunity couldn’t have been possible without the help of our sponsors, we are extremely grateful for their support and look forward to promoting their products up to and after the tournament.

Twice Brewed Brewery are our main sponsor and hopefully the start of a great partnership, with their amazing beers already available on our site. They are based in the North East, on Hadrian’s Wall and produce some stunning lines to match the scenery of their location. Of the three beers now sold at Fetch The Drinks, Sycamore Gap is our favourite, not just for its perfect amber finish but who can forget that Robin Hood Prince of Thieves scene with Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman at the same spot?

Sycamore Gap: Light and refreshing Pale Ale with punchy citrus-hop flavours imparted from Cascade and masses of Lemondrop hops.

Ale Caesar: This delicious American amber ale combines toasted malt and toffee flavours with a spiced warmth and citrus notes. A highly drinkable and richly flavoured amber ale.

Best Bitter: English style session bitter, deep copper in colour with a rich fruity aroma. Hints of tangerine and blackcurrant are balanced by a smooth malt sweetness.

Tancream have also backed the squad and taken out a sponsorship deal. A multi-award winning company, Tancream prevents sunburn, helps slow down skin ageing and gives a golden natural looking tan… what’s not to love? A perfect partnership for 12 rugby players running around in the south coast sun! We hope to use our platform to raise awareness of their products and attract a whole new audience before, during and after the tournament.

To find out more, please visit their site – Tancream

Making a difference in the fight against climate change, Zestec is our third sponsor. As an asset manager they develop a high quality renewable energy assets in the UK. We are extremely grateful for their support and will proudly don their logo on our kit throughout this and future tournaments.

Ahead of Bournemouth 7’s we will be looking into the squad more closely and finding out the preferred cider of choice for each player after a game of rugby!

 

Cider World 2019 😍

For the second year running, Fetch The Drinks travelled to Germany for Cider World 19. Now into it’s 11th year, popularity is increasing with an amazing array of ciders from Europe and even America for trade and cider supporters to enjoy. Cider World is a two day international cider tasting and awards event held in the Palmengarten area of Frankfurt, which always seems to produce stunning sunny weather when the cider world is in town!

Starting the day with a five mile run through the city, along the river, back passed the Opera House and ending at our Hotel, we were all set for the 12am awards ceremony.

When we arrived at Gesellschaftshaus Palmengarten we were greeted by Sebastian, a fellow cider enthusiast from Germany who we had met last year to discuss import/export opportunities for cider wholesalers from around Europe. Despite a slow year of trade for him he remained extremely enthusiastic as to what this year could hold for the cider community.

The first change to last year’s programme was starting with the awards ceremony rather then being squeezed in at the end of the day. If we had any thoughts on what could be improved from ’18, it would have been the awards. Taking over 2 hours at the end of a day of cider tasting, with very little harmony or the efficiency normally associated with a German lead operation, it was slightly painful to say the least. However, this year’s ran like clockwork. It was fantastic to see so many cider makers, some we had never even come across before, being recognised for their talents and dedication to their craft.

Many congratulations to all the cider winners, I think we were able to sample just about all of them on show over the weekend! A special mention to Hogan’s though. A British producer based in Alcester, Warwickshire who won one of the top 5 Medals for their rich, lengthy Libertine. a stunning cider and thoroughly deserved recognition for Jane and Allen.

Once the awards ceremony was complete we headed straight to Ramborn cider. We’d heard amazing reviews about their medium dry and perry, and these expectations absolutely lived up to expectations! Carlo Hein, the Managing Director was able to talk us through the story and the birth of Ramborn. From Luxembourg, the name came from their predominant use of ‘rambo’ apples and their location, Born – ‘Ramborn’. Their medium dry was a stunning cider and we can’t wait to stock them moving forward.

Our standout cider from the show had to be, Blak Stoc. An Austrian cider produced with hops for a refreshing, clean finish but with no doubt that it was a cider! Their brewmaster, Karl, fermented his first cider as a young schoolboy and since then hasn’t stopped experimenting with all sorts of fruits and flavours. Unsurprisingly, their main ingredient is apples, from the wild orchards in the Styrian hills where many of them are ancient regional varieties. Blackstoc means ‘old tree’ in Medieval German. We are looking at how to include their products on our online store and are looking forward to sharing with you their ‘Lazy Day Cucumber.’ If we are in for another blazing summer nothing will refresh you as well as this fruity number.

It’s hard to single out individual producers at an event celebrating the best World Ciders but ‘Ander Dog’ was another cider to blow us away. Produced in a German speaking part of Italy, Passier, their cider was delightfully refreshing and the enthusiasm from Pichler was infectious for his product. If you ever come across this on your travels, it is highly recommended.

The Cider World event enables you try some amazing ciders that you don’t get to sample everyday but also affords the opportunity to mingle with the rest of the community. It was great to see Susanna Forbes, and purchase a copy of her book (The Cider Insider) and Gabe Cook. They are currently in the process of producing a new cider magazine – watch this space.

Sticking with tradition we again spent the evening drinking Apfelstein at an extremely popular family run restaurant in the Old Town. We ate their Weiner Schnitzler with the traditional Frankfurter Green Sauce and washed it all back with a couple of Mispelchen to finish!

We returned to Cider World on Sunday to make our way around the producers we were yet to meet and sample. This included Adam and Eva (German), El Gaitero (Spanish), Reverned Nat’s (American), Dada Dada (Russian) and many more.

Another amazing event and weekend away in Germany. Looking forward to next year and hopefully an even greater representation of British ciders!

Dorset Sunshine: meet the maker

Last week the doors of Dorset Sunshine were opened and the cider master, Alastair, gave us a behind the scenes tour and revealed (some) of the secrets behind one of Dorset’s great products!

In an unassuming Farm outbuilding, Dorset Sunshine has gone from strength to strength over the past few years and is looking to produce 50,000 litres of delicious cider in 2019 – a massive increase on previous seasons. But when you try this cider you will understand why the demand is going through the roof.

To produce their cider they use traditional methods and only locally sourced apples from Dorset. This is extremely time consuming, especially compared to the modern technology now available but the quality of their cider makes this worth while. The apples used include a blend of West Country cider apples, such as Dabinet, Yarlington Mill, Chesil Jersey and Harry Masters.

Pressing season begins! Our first 15 ton batch of Dorset cider apples arrived this morning, checkout the video 🙂

Posted by Dorset Sunshine Cider on Wednesday, 26 September 2018

 

The apples are crushed and pressed using a traditional rack and cloth process at their cider barn. In this method the apple pulp is shaped on a cloth by a frame wrapped up in the cloth and then stacked one on top of the other, with each ‘cheese’ separated by a wooden rack. These racks enable the juice to run out quickly. Although the pressing itself is fast, building the ‘cheeses’ is extremely time consuming, especially when producing the quantity that they are at Dorset Sunshine. For the time being it’s producing fantastic results and Alastair hopes to continue using the rack and cloth for as long as is possible, although it is rare for a producer of this commercial size not to be using the more modern, basket press.

Dorset Sunshine is then fermented using the naturally occuring wild yeasts that are present in the apples. There are no sulphites or other artificial preservatives; “just the juice, the whole juice and nothing but the juice!”

The end result is a well balanced, tasty, natural cider with a hint of residual sweetness and a lovely appley aroma.

Whether you are from Dorset or not, it really is a cider you have to try!

SHOP DORSET SUNSHINE

Your Mother’s Day gift covered at Fetch The Drinks

Mother’s Day is fast approaching!

Don’t worry if you haven’t got your present sorted, we’ve got you covered at Fetch The Drinks with a stunning range of bottled ciders for your Mum to enjoy. 🍻

You can’t drink flowers…

Flowery Bottom (4%) 
WEST MILTON

The cider is a blend of juice from several varieties including Yarlington Mill, Chisel Jersey, Dabinett and Bulmers Norman. Flowery Bottom is a medium cider infused with elderflower for a light fruity taste.

12 bottles: £38.99 – BUY NOW

 

Elderflower (3.8%) 
DORSET NECTAR

The sun ripened apples are whole crushed and pressed at the orchard’s cider barn near Bridport, then patiently nurtured to create a smooth, delicious cider that is fruity in taste and bursting with flavour.

12 bottles: £39.99 – BUY NOW

 

Lily The Pink (4.5%) 
CELTIC MARCHES

A medium fruity cider – gorgeous pink colour – made from 100% cider apples on their Herefordshire farm – intense fruity aroma – very drinkable!!!

12 bottles: £32.99 – BUY NOW

 

Dorset Blush (4%) 
PURBECK CIDER

The Purbeck Cider Company was born in 2006 when Joe returned to the family farm. One of the finest sweet sparkling ciders, with a delicate British berry kick, simply natural the traditional way.

12 bottles: £36.99 – BUY NOW

Ham Hill back on the Fetch The Drinks bar!

We are delighted to announce that we are now restocking Ham Hill cider!

A delicious cider, Ham Hill is crafted to be enjoyed by all, tasthttps://fetchthedrinks.com/ham-hill-back-on…h-the-drinks-bar/es of apple, and demands only curiosity and a desire for a superb drink. It’s made only from Somerset vintage cider apples, by us in Somerset. We aim to make the cider we want to drink, rich in flavour and heritage, but also refreshingly appley and smooth. We believe we’ve cracked it.

Bop Drop 5.5% – Bop drop brings traditional cider bang up to date, using classic apple varieties like Somerset Redstreak and the legendary Kingston Black. The result is an easy drinking full bodied cider, with plenty of fruit and a smooth finish.

Early Drop 6% – Our Early Drop is made from the first pressed apples of Autumn. Varieties include Morgan Sweet, Early Red Jersey and Ellis Bitter. The result is a medium cider with a fresh contemporary taste, plenty of fruit and a rich tangy finish.

Dry 6.5% – Ham Hill Dry is an award winning cider, crafted with care to let the apples speak for themselves. Over 20 Varieties are used to produce a rounded cider that is rich and deep like the tradition, yet is smooth and refreshing.

BUY NOW