Somerset is apple country, with the perfect soil and climate for growing apples and making cyder. It has been going on here for centuries. Head out to the small farmlands of Somerset and you’ll spot ancient orchards still dotted about; clumps of mistletoe in the canopy, sheep grazing under the dappled shade of laden trees. Old barns still with the farmer's cyder press within, some still making cyder today. Here at The Newt, we celebrate every aspect of our county’s signature crop; from the sapling to the tree, the fruit, its juice and the final stage: cyder.
Around the time Hadspen House was built, the finest quality cyders were preferred to champagne by sniffy Somerset gentry who knew their tipple. People in our apple-growing regions consumed over a pint a day; at the time, this mildly alcoholic drink was safer than water. Everyone, including children, drank it – even at breakfast! Records show that the secondary fermentation process being used at this time - in glass bottles, sealed with corks - came well before French monk Dom Pierre Pérignon supposedly invented Champagne.
Our cyders are made with 100% apple juice, using slow cold fermentation to release the residual sweetness of this humble fruit. Discover more about cyder making with daily tasting tours, taking you inside our cathedral-like cellar dedicated to the golden drop.
Discover a feast for all the senses, from garden eateries to daily tours and seasonal workshops, all inspired by the land beneath our feet and the history and tradition of Somerset.
2, 16 October
Home Ground Cyder Making
Harvest apples in the orchards, press them and start making cyder.