Welcome to Venton's Devon Cyder
Mark and Sharon Venton moved to their smallholding in Clyst St Lawrence, East Devon in 2006 and upon clearing the overgrown grounds, uncovered two old apple orchards. Rather than waste the apples, they borrowed a hand-turned crusher and small basket style press to make small batches of Cyder in an old stable.
Although complete novices, they were inspired by the results and in the thrird year Mark found some Victorian press ironwork on a reclamation site, bought a freshly felled oak tree and built a large Oak twin screw press with the green oak, which could hold over 1 tonne of crushed apples per pressing or per 'cheese' as it is called in the trade. Using the traditional Devon method of pressing crushed apples between layers of straw and fermenting the juice in oak barrels with wild yeasts, they filled several barrels and went on to win the 2009 and 2010 Devon County Show first prize for Dry Farmhouse Cyder at the first and second times of entering the competition. It got people interested and asking where they could buy it so the growing hobby became the beginnings of a small business. More prizes have been won year on year since then and the interest in Ventons Devon Cyder has continued to rise in line with that.
Todays annual production has grown considerably with the Cyder being sold locally, all over the UK and occasionally abroad too. The storage tanks might be bigger and the pressing equipment more efficient but the traditional approach is exactly the same with apples sourced from local orchards, many of which originally supplied Whiteway’s Devon Cyder at Whimple, once the largest Cyder producer in the UK.
The ethos places more emphasis on consistent quality rather than consistent flavour, always striving to make the best from what is available. Using unsprayed heritage cyder apples, wild yeasts and the natural sugars from a wide variety of apples, the resulting whole juice Real Cyder is as natural as it gets. Any excess Cyder is turned into Apple Cyder Vinegar and the pressed apple pomace is fed to livestock so nothing goes to waste.