Aston Manor get busy with a landmark harvest


Aston Manor get busy with a landmark harvest

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This year, thanks to a warm spring and a wet summer, Aston Manor Cider is welcoming an early harvest, with the first culinary apples already arriving at the dedicated Stourport-on-Severn pressing facility.  

The Red Falstaff, Katy and Windsor apples harvested this week will be expertly blended to become the 2017/18 batch of the multi award-winning Friels First Pressed Vintage.

2017 is a significant harvest for Aston Manor. Several years after the business planted 400,000 trees across 1,000 acres of Herefordshire and Worcestershire orchards as part of an £30m investment program, the first of these trees will be yielding apples for harvest.

Within three weeks, the pressing mill is predicted to be running at full capacity as the bitter sweet varieties that are used for the likes of Kingstone Press, Knights Malvern Gold and Crumpton Oaks ripen for harvest.

Rod Clifford, head cider maker at Aston Manor Cider, said: “The timings of this harvest have been a little unusual, be we are well prepared.

The pressing mill at Stourport-on-Severn can be swiftly opened and fully operational as the harvest demands and we work closely with our growers to ensure that all logistics are in place for when the first apples ripen.”

Pointing to the long-term nature of the industry, it is hoped the grower and cider maker will break even on the investment made in each tree planted after eight or nine years.

Based on expected yields - around 20 tonnes of apple from every acre every year - the award-winning cider maker is expecting to pay in excess of £50m to farmers over the next 25 years for this planting scheme alone.

Gordon Johncox, chief executive of Aston Manor Cider, said: “Given the variability of yields from year to year, the changing consumer preferences and the potential varying costs of logistics and energy use, success in the cider industry requires expertise, attention to detail and considerable confidence in the appeal of cider in the UK and overseas. 

“We embarked on this planting scheme because of the confidence we had in our products, our growers and our future prospects. As these new tress grow and increase the demands of the pressing facility in the coming harvests, we look forward to producing even more award-winning cider.”


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