RG 2008 June
| This page is part of The Cidermaking Year by Rose Grant
June , 2008
Welcome to LulworthSkipper
Welcome to "LulworthSkipper" who just joined via the wiki and asked :
Request for advice Not sure if this is the place for this but I have just registered and joined the email list. I have been making Cider for the past 3 yrs, using apples scrounged from my local area. Last year I made 150 gallons, I can't drink it all so need to give it away or sell some. I understand that I need to label the bottles with Contents,Exact Measure and Alcohol content but I would like to have the cider tested to be sure of my facts. Can any one recommend a lab (I am located in Dorset) or can I buy a test kit? Anything else I should be aware of? - Many thanks, Martin
Welcome to ukcider!
I am a small scale commercial cider maker only 15 miles to the north of you. Everything you need to know is either on the ukcider wiki or is well covered on Andrew's website www.cider.org.uk both of which I highly recommend.
If however you would also like a down to earth chat about cidermaking as a cottage industry, you would be welcome to come and see what I get up to. For a start you could forget the laboratory analysis. Bring some of the good stuff with you and we will analyse it in a couple of glasses, which will hopefully prove to be an enjoyable experience!
During the analysis we could discuss the practicalities of all the aspects you have mentioned. For a preview of my own 'learning curve' and how I have benefited from belonging to ukcider see my pages on the wiki by going to Cider by Rosie
I've just witnessed once again the first law of cider drinking. The volume of cider consumed in any given establishment is directly proportional to the mean ambient temperature. The recent mini heat wave increased sales dramatically and I found myself in a mad whirl of packaging and delivering to the pubs. A similar thing happened last year during the unusually warm month of April.
The difference between then and now is of course the price of fuel. It is now more important than ever to carefully plan delivery runs into circular routes, taking in as many pubs as possible on each occasion. I've also taken to phoning round the day before to see if pubs that happen to be close to the planned route would like a top up. I've given up using the Landrover for deliveries since discovering that 9 x 20 litre boxes will fit snugly into the boot of the Ford Focus. Not only does the Focus use petrol which is cheaper than the diesel needed for the Landrover, but it does 40 mpg compared with the 28 mpg of the latter.
It is as though my beloved Landrover is in disgrace, as it has hardly been out of the garage since I returned from Putley. The little Focus is now the star of the show! Of course the tables will be turned when apple time comes round again. What else can pull a 3/4 ton trailer loaded with 2 tons of apples? It does seem a shame to have such a fine car relegated to towing duties. Nor is it an economic proposition. A rough calculation shows that the sum I pay for the apples is effectively doubled by the cost of the transport. The swingeing increase proposed for its vehicle excise duty has also got me wondering whether I will decide to take Landrover off the road for the early half of the year and just tax it for harvest time!
A few days ago I focused on the most productive delivery tour so far. It was a 60 mile round trip and I delivered 16 x 20 litre boxes. 9 in the boot, 5 across the back seat and 2 on the front passenger seat. The trip started with a climb out of the village and over Bulbarrow hill so that I could drop off a few of the boxes to village pubs on the other side. The car wallowed about somewhat, but it was amazing how well its little 1.4 litre engine performed, albeit via a lower gear than is usually needed. Then as the load was progressively lightened after each stop off I found that my spirits lifted in tune with the increasing performance of the car. We were a joyful duo indeed on the last 15 mile leg! I'm getting fond of the Focus.
It was only later that I calculated that 16 boxes of cider is akin to carrying four 12 stone passengers. No wonder the five of us were wallowing our way up the hill! I expect someone will tell me that with a load like that, the mpg dropped so much, I might as well have used the Landrover.