The Cornouaille PDO orchard fully participates in the development of the territory. More than 400 hectares of cider apple trees are maintained with respect for the environment. Most of all, the orchard is home to many hives and colonies of ecology keepers that are bees. It protects the biodiversity as the vast majority of ciders is elaborated with several varieties of apples.
The growing and selection of apple trees in Cornouaille is a very old tradition, dating back to the 12th century. A renowned production of cider was developed in the 18th century using new varieties of apple trees with tannin rich fruit. The reputation of the Cornouaille PDO, which today is highly appreciated by consumers, is attested by several documents of the 19th century.
The climate and the structure of the soils -medium depth- are the ideal growing conditions for the cider apple. As a result, these characteristics of the production area gives the Cornouaille PDO cider those qualitative peculiarities that distinguish it from other similar craft cider products.
Orchards for the PDO Cornouaille Cider
There are two types of orchards : extensive orchard and intensive orchards. The intensive orchard represents 60% of the PDO Cornouaille cider apple orchard. While the extensive orchard represents 40% of the total PDO Cornouaille Orchard size. In an intensive orchard, the cider apple tree lifetime goes from 30 to 50 years. Whereas in an extensive one, apple-cider trees rather live around or even more than 50 years. In the same way, the cider apple trees start producing from the 5th year in an intensive orchard, when you have to wait 8 years in the other. As with the number of trees per hectares, it’s between 400 to 550 trees in an intensive orchard, unlike in an extensive orchard you can rather plant between 250 to 300 trees. And they produce up to 30 tons per hectare, guarantee for a good quality.
The PDO Cornouaille orchards are individually accredited, maintained and harvested according to a technique called “integrated fruit production”. In french it is the PFI, standing for “Production Fruitière Intégrée”. This process requires the use of production methods that are reasonable, responsible and respectful of the environment, as well as the consumer’s health. In fact, the orchards are left to thrive in the idyllic conditions that the region provides. These orchards and the fruits they supply rely heavily on the diverse bee population that they shelter. The sole human intervention in the orchard aims to protect the orchard and maintain the useful insect and bees colonies.
The apples themselves fall into three general categories according to the tastes they impact on the cider:
- the Bitter apples (which lend the most structure to the cider),
- the Sweet apples (which give the sugar content and the tart ones add zest and freshness to the beverage),
- the Mildly Acid apples (which brings the fresh hint)
Cider makers from Cornouaille examine each batch of apples. Therefore they select and blend the cider-apple for processing. The blend of apples demands an expertise on behalf of the producers. The PDO Cornouaille Cider is a Semy-Dry cider. Thus, it’s characteristics are the following:
- 3.5-4% alcohol
- between 28g-42g of sugar.
Cider Apple Varieties
Bitter cider Apple Varieties
Bitter-Sweet cider Apple Varieties
Sweet cider Apple Varieties
Midly-Acid cider Apple Varieties