Wassailing or cider lovers having a good time has its roots in antiquity. It is likely to reflect Anglo Saxon roots, pre Christian but references are scant. The earliest accounts of the wassailing fruit trees come from St Albans in 1486 and Kent in 1585. To wassail or Waes Hael in Old English is to toast another with mead cider or ale. Waes Hael means “good health” and the response is drinc hael.

Holy Cider Batman!

Cider or cyder as it was more commonly spelt in the seventeenth Century was a popular rural drink especially in the South West and Eastern counties where apples grew. Britain was developing a prosperous middle class and aristocracy and importation of wine was increasing. Sadly the supply lines were frequently disrupted by wars especially with France, and so attention was diverted to cider-making. This coincided with an increasing spirituality and

Cider Mills – a history

Cider is made in a similar fashion to wine ( and not at all like beer), but there are differences. one of these relates to the structure of the apple and grape. Apples being bigger and firmer. Grapes will start to ferment spontaneously aided by trampling with feet. No technology is required in the primitive development of wine making. Apples however require crushing and separating of the juice from the

Panking, A traditional perry harvesting tool

A panking pole is used to dislodge fruit from standard perry and cider apple trees. Rarely used these days of bush orchards. Made with a strong wooden handle, ash in this case. and a iron hook The origin of the word is unclear. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that the southern English dialect verb pank meant only to pant or breathe hard, though the sense better fits the definition given in the English Dialect Dictionary a

Disgorgement date

Disgorgement is the action of removing the yeast lees. Bottles with metal caps are generally disgorged by machine in large concerns but at TeePee Cider the bottle are still disgorged the traditional way by hand (à la volée). The bottle is held upside down, opened and then quickly tilted back upwards so that only enough wine is forced out to take the sediment with it. Sparkling wine and cider made

Yeast : Great fermentations.

Cider like wine is an alcoholic fermented drink. Alcohol is produced by yeasts. Alcohol is essentially a by-product. The yeast is extracting energy from the sugar and releasing CO2 and alcohol. Some yeasts especially the Saccharomycetes have taken advantage of this and become alcohol tolerant and can survive even thrive in alcohol concentrations that kill other yeasts and bacteria and so gain a survival advantage. All alcohol was made with

Vintage: What’s in a word?

When it comes to cider quite a lot of confusion it seems Vintage as a word can be a non or an adjective. Both meaning derive from wine making The use of the word “vintage was first used in relation to cider by Robert Hogg in the “Herefordshire Pomona” published in 1888 and used by Professor B.T.P Barker Assistant Director at the Long Ashton Research Center ( for cider) .

“An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor away”

This seems a rhyme whose origins are lost in antiquity but in fact it is quite modern and well know. It appears in its current form in 1922 . It derives from earlier form as it has morphed over the decades. Originally recorded in 1886 in the antiquarian series “Notes and Queries” as “Eat an apple on going to bed, And you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” by

The curious case of the Cider Token

Up to around AD735 silver pennies for a basis of English coinage. These pennies were the smallest denomination, and if smaller change was needed the penny was cut in half (half penny), or in fourths (a four-thing, or farthing). As silver became more valuable the pennies were made smaller, so by 1608 the silver penny weighed just 8 grains and a 2-grain farthing was so small it was nearly useless.

Cider and Advertising through the ages

This the talk I gave to the 4th New Zealand Cider Festival 2019 Firstly why advertise, a fundamental question. The world is global and unless you advertise your company club etc will be lost amongst the rest. Hence the NZ Cider Festival advertises. TeePee Ciders advertise. And to advertise you need recognisable logos that “tell the story” However advertising was not originally needed. Cider was made on most farms and


Perry is the half forgotten difficult brother of Cider. Perry is made from pears just as Cider is made from apples. However the drink and the word has never become mainstream. Books on Perry are invariably a book on Cider and Perry eg Thomas Knight Treatise on the culture of the Apple and Pear and on the manufacture of Cider and Perry 1801 So much so that modern drinks makers


Cork use to stopper bottles was increasingly used in the 17th C however it was the introduction of the corkscrew, first recorded in 1686 that accelerated its use. Before that it was not possible to tightly fit corks as the were difficult to remove!. An early device was used simply an awl but this often damaged the glass bottle neck and glass bottles initially were expensive. Initially the cork was

Glass Wine and Cider Bottles

Glass manufacturing was a closed occupation in Medieval Europe concentrated in Venice and closely guarded  by the guild and Italian authorities of the time. Glass making requires high temperatures and therefor a fired furnace. Traditionally with wood. Given the risk to adjacent buildings the Venetian authorities centred glass making on the Island of Murano. This provided increased security of the trade secrets but also stifled development of the art further.

The story of Scurvy, and the role of Cider

When cider was being developed in the UK into a fine product akin to wine on the Continent  in the 17C  and it came to the attention of the scientists and aristocracy of the day it was in a very different time than today in term of science and medicine. The Renaissance was underway but science still contained alchemy, astronomy was being developed from astrology and medicine was yet to

The Rise and Fall of Bulmer’s Cider

The start of industrial rather than rural farm based cider production. Rev Charles Henry Bulmer  the rector at Credenhill   few miles north of Hereford city  made cider. He was friends with Dr Hogg and  was asked by Hogg,   a prominent pomologist  to write  the chapter “The Orchard and Its Products. Cider and Perry” for the  Herefordshire Pomona Volume 1 pages 113-160.   Dr. Hogg often stayed with the Bulmers.  The Reverend’s  youngest     son,  twenty years

Cider a Poem in two Books: John Philips

“with notes provincial, historical and classical” by Charles Dunster 1791 An extraordinary book. Cider, A Poem written in 1708 in the form of Virgil’s Georgics ( which is a poem in Latin published in 29 BC). As the name suggests (from the Greek word geōrgika, “agricultural things”), the subject of the poem is agricultural; but far from being an example of peaceful rural poetry, it is a work characterized by

John Worlidge 1640–1700

John Worlidge or John Woolridge was an agriculturalist, who lived in Petersfield, Hampshire, England. He was considered a great expert on rural affairs, and one of the first British agriculturalists to discuss the importance of farming as an industry. No portrait of John is known. He signed his books cryptically J W Gent His first published book Systema Agriculturæ, or the Mystery of Husbandry discovered … by J. W., Gent.,

Talk given to the 3rd NZ Cider Festival 2018

It was great to be invited to talk at the 3rd NZ Cider festival on the history of cider in its “Golden Era” in England. This was a fascinating time when cider rivalled wine as a sumptuous drink and laid the foundations to Champagne. This talk starts in the Medieval times before the Golden age 1600-1700 and explains how secondary fermentation was harnessed to made sparkling cider 80 years before

Thomas Knight & the Pomona Herefordiensis

The first illustrated pomology book in Britain and the world was written in 1811 by Thomas Knight orchardist and fruit breeder. Pomona Herefordiensis  was  published as part of Thomas’ attempt to improve cider orchards. In 1797 he published a book called Treatise on Cider, describing the different stages of production, following his work surveying Herefordshire (for a government that was hoping to raise taxes to fund the Napoleonic Wars). Knight found Herefordshire orchards

Scudamore Cider Flute

This flute also called the ‘Chesterfield’ flute,( family descent through the Scudamore-Stanhope family to the Earls of Chesterfield) is a thin soda ‘cristallo’ glass, made around 1650. The oldest glass associated with cider drinking. It is diamond point engraved with the Royal Arms and the arms of the Scudamore family (three stirrups) within lozenge shaped escutcheon linked by festoons of fruit and flowers, with below, a stag beside a gate

Devon Colic

Devon colic  was an illness that affected people in the English county of Devon during parts of the 17th and 18th centuries most autumns , before it was discovered to be lead poisoning it was first described in 1703 by Dr William Musgrave of Exeter in a paper De arthritide symptomatica. Symptoms began with severe abdominal pains and the condition was occasionally fatal. Cider was the traditional drink of Devonshire people at the time, in fact it was

Cider Tax Riots

Cider was a common drink in the West country from the 14th Century and formed part of wages of labourers until outlawed by the Truck Act of 1887. It had not previously been taxed. However 9 as always Governments lookto new taxes to raise revenue. The Cider Bill of 1763 was a proposed measure by the British government of Lord Bute to put a tax on the production of cider

The Babycham phenomena

BabyCham a perry drink is key to cider drinks on many levels, juice, storage fermentation marketing advertising etc. It is the prototype alcopops. Phenomenally successful in UK and globally. And an example of hype and product placement, and ultimately decline. The story begins:… But first a little history. The term “champagne”  for sparkling wine has been used in UK for many centuries despite more recent protest from the French wine