Heritage Apple Cider is back – the genuine taste of Southland is made from donated windfall apples from around the district in the timeless rack and cloth method of Summerset, all by hand by a bunch of hardy Southlanders keen to keep tradition alive.
The brewery put a call in April for surplus apples – and the fruit of that labour is now ready to drink.
Champagne yeast was added to hand-pressed juice, which was left to ferment out before being set aside to age, allowing the flavours to mature for five months.
This year, as always, apples came from throughout Southland, from those keen to use not waste, and from others looking for a tangible taste of Southland. Fuji apples from Darlings Orchard in Central Otago were used to bulk up the volume.
Like Alex Glennie. Now retired and living at Otatara on the outskirts of Invercargill, he returned to the family farm at Balfour to gather apples from the orchard his grandfather planted when he arrived in New Zealand. Alex plans on taking a dozen bottles of Heritage Cider on a pilgrimage home to Scotland later this year.
Unfiltered with no preservatives, it pours an effervescent gold, the taste is pure apple with a touch of acidity and extra tannins delivering full mouthfeel with a dry finish.
Bottles have been set aside for apple donors and labour volunteers that can be collected from The Cellar Door from Saturday.
Heritage Cider will be drinkable from its release but, for those who are patient, this is a product that improves with age.
Invercargill Brewery has been hand-making cider since 1999.
HERITAGE CIDER FACTS
Cider Makers: Steve Nally, Gina Kearney, Malcolm McKenzie, Chris Ellenden, Michael Bashford, Michael MacNamara, Susan Walker, Craig & Gemma Merrill, and Max Nally
Apples: Fuji (from Darlings in Ettrick), Roxburgh Plums … and all over Southland,