New cider apple varieties found in Australia

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 8th July 2008

A tour of apple orchards in France and England has led to the discovery of 15 ‘new’ cider apple varieties in Australia.NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) technical officer, David Pickering, said the study tour was supported by Horticulture Australia Ltd to confirm the identity of what appeared to be cider apple varieties in Australian collections. “I had to visit the countries where the apples originated to positively identify the varieties which were growing here and confirm that they were true-to-type,” Mr Pickering said. “Now we have a total of 30 cider apple varieties which growers can find locally without importing budstock from overseas.”

According to Mr Pickering, interest in cider is growing and the newly identified varieties could help boost production.

“With names like Antoinette, Belle Cauchoise, Blanchet, Clozette, French Crab, Frequin Rouge, Rousse Latour and Verite we clearly have a good representation of French varieties for cider makers who want to explore French cider styles,” he reported. “Cider makers could use this diverse range of apples to produce a variety of styles and flavours in much the same way as the wine industry uses different grapes and winemaking techniques.

“We now have cider varieties which could be used to expand the traditional range of sweet, bittersweet, sharp and bittersharp flavours, as well as filling gaps in the harvest calendar.

“Tannin levels vary and there are choices of varietal ciders and blends, oaked and unoaked ciders – it really depends on what the market wants.”

Mr Pickering will present his findings at this year’s Mudgee Small Farm Field Days, July 18 and 19.