Sandford Orchards unveils Fine Cider range

Sandford Orchards has unveiled its new Fine Cider range, made using a new technique that has its roots both in winemaking and ancient cider production.

The Devon cider makers’ new single variety Yarlington Mill cider is produced using ‘on leaf’ fermentation, a concept inspired by whole-bunch fermentation found in modern winemaking.

The cider is made by adding fresh apple leaves from a Sweet Alford tree to a batch of single variety Yarlington Mill juice at harvest.

Owner, Barny Butterfield, said: “I wanted to see if the leaves had an impact on the aromatics of the juice, as hinted in the trial results. And we were blown away by the results.”

Sandford Orchards called on its connections with the University of Exeter’s Biosciences department. The team is currently working on profiling the metabolic pathway of the microbes present in the on-leaf fermentation, alongside other research including gene sequencing and microbiome comparison.

Butterfield said: “The on-leaf fermentation produces a profoundly more impressive bouquet with increased complexity and subtlety. I am optimistic that our research will help us to understand the reasons behind it.”