Milling, pressing & bottling

Once we have harvested the apples and sorted them by variety into crates, we wash them and load them by hand into the electric mill (which allows another chance to chuck out any imperfect fruit). The pulp, or ‘pomace’, goes straight into our hydro-press. The Hydro-press has a gentler action than the more traditional press (it sacrifices a little yield in order to optimise the flavour), and is used widely in the wine industry. A rubber bladder is gradually filled with water, squeezing the pomace against a perforated stainless steel drum. As the pressure increases the juices flow. Children mysteriously reappear at this point in the process, as cups are passed around to sample this particular blend of apples for the first time. The golden juice is then sieved as it is pumped into a holding tank. A tiny quantity of vitamin C is added at this point. The vitamin C allows certain oxidation reactions which enhance the flavour, but prevents browning of tannins and excessive sedimentation. The juice rests over night to allow the apple sediment to impart maximum flavour as it settles to the bottom of the tank. The following day the juice is bottled by hand, and then pasteurised in a hot water bath at 70c for 20 minutes. This extends the shelf life from a few days to a few years without impairing the flavour.