Venton's Devon Cyder History
Real Cyder has been made in the traditional way from our East Devon orchards at Clyst St Lawrence for at least the past 100 years that we know of. Looking at old maps of the local area it's probably much longer than that and the documented history of Devon Cyder extends to more like 300 - 400 years.
Our orchards are well balanced with many old varieties and were well thought out by the old school cyder makers who planted them all those years ago. Their knowledge was rarely documented and was more about word of mouth from generation to generation, so a lot of knowledge was lost in the two world wars but their legacy lives on in the apple trees we harvest today and the new trees we graft from them to keep the old varieties going.
Whiteways Orchard Heritage
The famous Whiteways Devon Cyder Company were based 2 miles from us and for nearly a century, the orchards surrounding us were nurtured and used to make their Devon Cyder. Famously Whiteways exported thousands of gallons of Cyder to America during the post-prohibition era. In it's heyday the orchards at Whimple were known to be the most extensive in the world. Whiteway's closed in 1985 due to the decline in popularity and the factory land was sold of for housing. The orchards, including our own became redundant for many years but have now, thankfully found a new lease of life due to the renewed interest in Real Cyder.
Our methods of producing Devon Cyder are as traditional as they get. Locally sourced Devon Cyder apples, fermented with natural yeasts from the apples and local orchards where we live, sorted by hand, washed, pulverized with a crusher, pressed with a 'home built' twin screw oak press and then pressed through barley straw, fermented, then matured in oak barrels, which is where it all started, just as they did when Cyder was made to supply farms and their workers over the centuries.
Nowadays, due to increased interest, our Cyder production is also accommodated by a belt press, washer elevator mill and large holding tanks, but regardless of the equipment used to extract the juice, the traditional approach of only processing fresh pressed whole juice from our own and local orchards and then fermented with wild yeasts, the natural way, still applies.
The quality of the resulting Cyder bears testament to the land, climate and variety we are blessed with here in East Devon. The 'terroir' of East Devon speaks for itself with soft and hard tannins, acidity and flavour to balance the whole thing out naturally!
Inspired by the history and heritage of where we live, our aim is to consistently make cyder that our predecessors would have been proud of. Ventons Devon Cyder is based on a local history which we want to ensure plays a part in the future. In case you were wondering why we spell Cyder with a Y, it is to preserve an old Devon tradition from times when that spelling was the standard.
East Devon Cyder was always on the map in yesteryear and it is back on the map with Ventons Devon Cyder for tomorrow too!