The 'Chesterfield flute' made around 1650. Owned by Lord Scudamore, famed west country fine cidermaker.

17th Century cider making. Crushing the apples.

We decided to start with a 'Champagne style' cider. You're not allowed to mention 'Champagne' on the bottle though; fair enough, the Champagne region is an 'appellation d'origine contrôlée'. Cornish pasties can only be made in Cornwall a certain way and Champagne can only come from the Champagne region of France, made with specific grapes from specific places.

 

BUT… the way Champagne is made was pretty much invented in the West Country in the early 1600s - for cider! How was that? The French always cite Dom Pérignon as the inventor of Champagne but he came along decades later! Well, wine was usually imported into England in barrels and bottled here for selling. Often the wine hadn't finished fermenting and when summer came around and the wine and the yeast in the bottles warmed up, fermentation sometimes kicked off again, producing more alcohol and carbon dioxide. Because the wine was now in bottles, the carbon dioxide had nowhere to go and gave the wine a nice sparkle. But this was really a bit of a hit and miss affair.

 

Gradually someone realised that the addition of a small amount of sugar in the bottling process could guarantee the secondary fermentation and sparkling wine was born. But wine bottles at the time weren't very strong and the gas pressure building up inside the bottle meant many exploding bottles.

 

Then in 1615 when the British navy needed all the ships it could build and a ban was put on using wood or charcoal in furnaces, it meant glass manufacturers had to resort to the new-fangled fuels: coal and oil shale. There was some reluctance at first but gradually it became apparent that a higher temperature could be produced and consequently thicker, stronger glass and the invention of the 'Champagne' bottle. The French called this 'Verre Anglais'. This was patented in 1623 by Robert Mansell, a one-time MP for Lostwithiel, our neighbouring town in the Fowey Valley.

 

With the passing of the first Navigation Act in 1651, the importation of wine from France and Spain into Britain was greatly reduced. Consequently the aristocracy took a keener interest in fine cider and for fifty years it was the thing to drink.  

 

There are many examples of glassware produced at that time which look a lot like our current Champagne flutes and were used for drinking fine sparkling cider.

The resulting pomace is then squeezed in a portable screwpress.

Contact Us:

The Cidery

Hybadore

Golant

Fowey

Cornwall

‚Äč

07707 049907

contact@foweyvalley.com

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