Great cider DOESN'T COME FROM YOUR TYPICAL EATING apple.
Everything starts with picking quality cider apples from THE ORCHARDS. My mother's family, The Von Lindens, farmed the Schoharie Valley since the early 19th century and my brother and I proudly continue this tradition by growing quality bittersharp and bittersweet cider apples. Whether it is from the fruit we grow at Scrumpy Ewe Orchards or from various orchards we work from the Hudson valley to the Fingerlakes, all our cider begins with individually hand-selecting each apple based on it's unique characteristics to be used as a stand alone single varietal or part of greater blend.
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
After the harvest season, we transport apples bins to Scrumpy Ewe's Facility in Charlotteville, NY. There everything is meticulously washed from apple to machine. After a thorough cleaning, we grind apples into pomace and make fresh juice using a commercial bladder press. The discarded applely-bits go back to the Scrumpy Ewes on the farm.
Patience is Bitter but its fruit is sweet.
Next, yeast is added to the juice within 48 hours and primary fermentation begins for 1-3 month period, depending on the size of batch, method of fermentation, temperature of the room. With certain ciders, we pitch no yeast at all. And let the wild, native yeasts do the fermenting. Either way, we monitor the juice as it ferments with temperature gauges, hydrometers and digital meters for PH/total acidity/sulfites (if any are added). Batches are racked off of their lees, using oxygen-free wine pumps to ensure no oxidation occurs at any point in the process. During the secondary fermentation process, we age the product in either stainless steel tanks and/or American oak barrels for an additional 6 weeks to 16 months, depending. While we painstaking blend varieties prior to fermentation, we often do additional blending if needed. When the time comes, a decision is made to filter the remaining sediment out of the cider or leave it cloudy depending on the particular batch. The cider is then labeled and hand bottled either still or force carbonated. We allow the cider to refrigerate for another month before it's ready to be consumed.