When we planted the vineyard we also inherited 650 apple trees as a’Beckett’s was well known for producing apples for sale locally and also at Bristol Market. The trees were rather neglected and we have carefully run a minimal pruning program to help the trees back into production.
Initially we thought we could sell apples to local stores and visitors, what we did not bank on was firstly the volume and secondly that people don’t like spotty apples anymore. The market for apples has been shaped by the major supermarkets, perfection and shape are the drivers, taste seems to be a lesser requirement.
So in 2007 we worked with a local farmer to make a barrel of Scrumpy and it sold really well, emboldened by this we set out to make more for 2008 and Barnstorming was created and we fermented it with Champagne yeast and the brand Langham Cider was born.
We have planted a range of varieties as follows:
- Yarlington Mill
- Kingston Black
- Tremletts Bitter
- Taylors Seeding
- Stoke Red
We are starting to add these to our ciders, we will have to wait a few more years before we can produce exclusively cider apple drived cider or single variety ciders.
As part of the Scotts of Merriott acquisition we have just planted 39 perry trees of the following varieties
- Green Horse
- Red Pear
- Old Home
- Messere Jean
- Sweet Huffcap
Really wonderful names, nearly all are standard trees with a few half standards and we have put a John Downie crab apple in the middle to aid pollination. As the trees are around 8ft tall we hope they will settle in and in a few year commence cropping.