A craft cider producer, the County Cider Company makes ciders with 100% pure apple juice from Prince Edward County apples. The County Cider Company grows over 15 varieties of apples, between two orchards which range over 50 acres in total.
Crafting the cider is a year-round process which begins in autumn. The autumn months are when the apples are picked, since they have reached the optimal balance of natural sugars and acids. In order to ensure premium quality, each apple is hand picked. Next, the apples are sorted and any damaged or rotten fruit discarded.
Once the apples have been sorted, they are stored for 3-4 weeks. This is the period when starch is converted to sugar, allowing the flavours to become naturally concentrated as the apples’ moisture slowly evaporates.
After the 3-4 week period, the apples are gently scrubbed to remove any dirt; however, it must be carefully done to ensure that none of the wild yeasts are removed. Now the apples are ready to be milled and pressed.
As previously mentioned, Waupoos Premium Cider and County Cider consist of a blend which features many different varieties of apples. Each variety of apple offers a distinct flavour; therefore in order to create the perfect balance of flavours, the juices are blended prior to the fermentation process.
When ready for fermentation, the juice is transferred into large tanks. This is where it will ferment over a period of many months. The fermentation process is slow, which allows for the renowned richness of flavour and aroma you get from Waupoos Premium Cider and County Cider. As the County Cider Company’s Cidermaster, Grant Howes, would say, “you can’t rush great cider!”
The next step in the process is to separate the cider from the lees. Lees is the sediment at the bottom of the large tanks. It consists of yeast deposits and other particles that are left behind after the cider has fermented. The process of separating the cider from the lees is called racking.
Once the cider has been completely fermented, it is carbonated and bottled. It is then transferred to the County Cider Company retail store, as well as various restaurants, bars and LCBO stores for purchase, ready for you to drink.