English Romantic Poet John Keats described autumn as the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, which certainly puts us in mind of our forthcoming apple harvest.

Here at Lyme Bay Winery we are passionate about keeping the skill of Westcountry cider making alive and use the pressed juice of locally grown traditional cider varieties such as Dabinett, Kingston Black and Yarlington Mill to make our award-winning ciders.

The apples for these come from The Somerset Cider Brandy Company, where Julian Temperley – one of the co-founders – is very optimistic about this year’s luscious crop. He says: “The summer should result in top quality apples with high sugar levels. The apple harvest, while not so abundant as last year, looks good.”

The cider-making process

Cider making starts here at the Winery in early October, when the freshly pressed apple juice comes into us in 25,000L tankers.

“The first step of the process is to analyse sugar levels and total acidity of the apple juice as well as tasting to decide what apple juice is to be used for each cider,” explains Tom Gooding, our Production Manager. “The apple juice with higher acidity, sugar levels and extra tannic structure is used for the Vintage, while the juice with lower acidity, sugar and gentler tannins is used for the Scrumpy.”

Complex and full-flavoured

We add a cultured dried yeast which gives us control of the ferment and allows us to keep a consistent product and reduce the chances of unwanted ‘off’ tastes and aromas being produced by the wild yeasts.

The apple juice is then left to ferment at ambient temperature over the winter, and it’s this prolonged ferment at cool temperatures along with the diverse range of apples used, that Tom says help create our “complex and full-flavoured ciders”, ready to be racked in the spring.

Decide for yourself

If you’ve never tried our award-winning still and sparkling ciders, or are already a die-hard fan, you can find out more about our range here. You can also see them all at our Winery shop so do pop in if you are passing, or get in touch with our friendly team via email at [email protected] or by calling us on 01297 551355 if you’d like to order by phone.