Peckham's Cider – Nelson Mail – 06.12.17

After a very success showing at this year’s cider awards where Peckham’s won five of the seven trophies awarded I caught up with Caroline to find out about changes they have made in the last couple of years and changes in the industry. The biggest change is the addition of the canning line but they have also expanded the range of ciders they offer “we call these rare ciders, and they have come about as our orchard yields more fruit each year, allowing us to showcase the distinct characters of our 30 varieties of cider apple,” says Caroline. “One of the real keys for us is we have now been making cider for about 14 years, we have been developing our own cider orchard in Nelson for 10 years, and that length of time has allowed us to understand how to manage the fruit and how to blend the varieties in order to make these rare, more complex ciders. “The time we have spent cider making has given us an understanding of a wide range of traditional and experimental cider making techniques.” One example of the things they are trialing is the recent production of a cider fermented on its skins rather than fermenting just the juice, they also have a couple of wild ferment barrel aged ciders. These are ciders that rely on yeasts that occur naturally in the orchard and cidery to ferment the apples rather than commercial yeasts, “they are dry ciders with really interesting flavours. “We are also making a cider using an ancient traditional French cider making technique called keeveing.” ‘Keeving’ is a way of making the ultimate style of naturally sweet sparkling cider, it is traditional both in Western England and the northwest of France; this production technique has almost disappeared from commercial production in the UK but is still very much alive in France. The idea is to ensure a long slow fermentation, resulting in a cider that can be bottled while still sweet and without any fear of excessive re-fermentation later. “We are also producing still, wild fermented ciders for hand-pull direct from barrels, very much like real ales. These are served at room temperature and have proved very popular at the Moutere Inn. A still cider has to be well crafted because you can’t hide behind the bubbles. Our current one is nice and rich, it will challenge your taste buds but if you like it you will be lost forever.” Caroline thinks they did so well at the New Zealand Cider Awards because they are hand-crafting their ciders with so much care, attention to detail and passion. “What is exciting for us is that we are exploring the frontiers and pushing the boundaries of real cider making, and the external recognition of this through the Awards is wonderful.” We need to remember these awards are national and while Peckham’s won five trophies they also won six gold medals and nine silver medals from 85 different ciders that were entered. One other trophy we awarded to Rochdale Cider so six of the seven trophies came to Nelson, “the thing about these cider awards is they follow international judging criteria and the judges are cider experts; this is the only competition focused on cider rather than being an add-on to beer awards, so they are unique and have absolute integrity.” Caroline told me they seeing a growing awareness of appreciation of these premium, real ciders as people understand them and are more open to trying them, “we are excited the consumer is embracing cider as a serious drink which has the credentials of skilled cidermaking and fruit quality.” For me I think it is exciting that producers like Peckham’s continue to learn about the fruit, continue to experiment with different ways of making cider and focus on “producing the best product we can because that is where the joy is and where the satisfaction lies.”]]>