After buying their East Devon smallholding in 2006 Mark and Sharon Venton uncovered two old cottage orchards with many different apple varieties including vintage Devon cyder apples, cookers and desserts. Unable to give the apples away they borrowed a small crusher and press to save some apples from going to waste and made their first small batches of Real Devon cyder.
The results were great and they were inspired to make some more the following year using the same apples and same equipment, ending up with the same the results, so the seed of thought was sown! In the third year Mark built a twin screw oak press from a locally felled oak tree and found some reclaimed Victorian screws in Gloucestershire.
The press could take around 1 tonne of apples per pressing “cheese” and 1000 gallons were pressed through straw. For two consecutive years they won first prize at Devon County Show for dry cyder. This created interest with people wanting to buy it and put their cyder on the map. Ventons Devon Cyder was born!
Year-on-year since then, many awards have been won, including Gold Medals at Royal Bath & West Show, Devon County Show, Royal Cornwall Show and CAMRA South West. Production has increased to around 6000 gallons a year and these days the oak press is used alongside modern equipment.
What hasn’t changed in all that time is the natural approach to making it, tannin rich, full bodied quality from fresh pressed whole juice and wild yeast fermentations. There are draught ‘still’ and bottled ‘sparkling’ options to choose from, an online shop and home deliveries to anywhere in mainland UK or further afield by special arrangement.
Clyst St Lawrence
Devon EX15 2NL