I have always believed that there is no better way to learn than combining theory and practice. After several years working for the cider industry from the point of view of marketing, communication and internationalization, I have finally decided to deepen in the cider world and make my own homemade craft cider.
Ciderzale is, in addition to a blog about cider and a marketing service, a small laboratory where we experiment with the production of new ciders. Our main characteristics are the recognition of traditions without renouncing to new technologies, as well as a look at global cider from a local point of view (Basque Country).
Cider making is the main objective of this lab. We started experimenting making cider with the least possible intervention, using fresh apple juice and wild fermentation. In 2018 we produced about 20 liters of cider, divided into four batches with different blends. Two of these batches had been produced with freshly pressed apple juice from a cider house in Astigarraga, and two others with apples and crabs collected and pressed by us. This experiments will be the base for the next season production.
Although we feel a deep admiration for the traditions and the most natural production methods, we don’t renounce the new techniques. We will always keep some basic premises (fresh juice, natural ingredients), but we also want to go through other paths, such as the use of added yeast.
We’ve finally bottled all of our 4 different homemade cider batches and they are ready to taste. So we have produced 4 types of cider.
- ?? ZAPORE: Grapefruit flavored apple cider. 90% cider apples, 10% grapefruit wine straight from our own orchard. Means “flavor” in Basque.
- ?? MAKATZA: Crab apple cider. Table and crab apples picked up in Soria and fermented together. Means “crab apple” in Basque.
- ?? HVALUR: Basque style apple cider. Made with cider apples pressed in the Basque Country. Means “whale” in Icelandic.
- ?? PELENDONIA: Celtiberian apple cider. Table apples picked up in Soria, pressed and fermented in the Basque Country. The name refers to an ancient celtic tribe.
A significant part of our cider is made with table apples donated by the neighbors of The Valley of Soria. Our goal is to recover these apple trees taking care of the orchards and training their owners. This, together with the planting of new cider apple trees, will allow us to increase our cider production gradually.
For our first experiments we have also collected and pressed some crab apples that have been fermented together with the table apples to add tannins and astringency to one of the cider batches. In addition, we have extracted seeds of the European crab apple malus sylvestris picked up in the forest.
We expect to plant some cider apple trees during 2019/2020 winter, and we are already germinating the crab apple seeds. We plan to keep some of the crabs as they grow, and in the future we want to graft cider apple varieties from different parts of the world.
We have our own urban citrus orchard, with varied orange, grapefruit, blood orange, lemon and tangerine trees. Along with the apple juice, we are experimenting with the wild fermentation of these citrus and their blending with apple cider, in order to explore the world of flavored ciders from a craft and honest point of view, always using natural ingredients.