In mid-August, CCOVI hosted its second offering of the course Cider and Perry Production - A Foundation. It is the only accredited program of its kind in Canada, offered in partnership with the Cider Institute of North America (CINA).
The course has drawn students who made their way to Brock from six different provinces, leaving behind a wide range of backgrounds in order to join the energized ranks of professional or amateur cider-makers. Denise Flynn, an apple grower from Church Point, Nova Scotia, gave up a career in dentistry for the allure of making cider full-time. She signed up for the CCOVI course because she wanted to get it right.
“I didn’t want to start producing large amounts of cider and mess up a batch, so I came here,” explained Flynn, who has been producing cider on a small scale for three years. “I wanted to better understand what apples I can grow in Nova Scotia – and grow well – and this course has been everything I needed.”
Although cider-making has a long history in Canada, standard practices in the industry are still being developed, leaving a lot of leeway for growers and cider-makers.
“The variety of options and lack of established varieties and styles are daunting,” explained CINA-certified instructor Steven Trussler, who is also a CCOVI senior lab demonstrator, “but it also presents a lot of opportunity.”
While a few standout cider apple varieties have become well-established in the industry -- Kingston Black, for example -- many growers are striving to determine which varieties are the best fit for their specific cider style or region. They must be able to decide what bud wood/rootstock combination to plant, what type of orchard management system to use, how to control pests – all the while waiting the years it takes for trees to mature to the point of bearing cider-worthy fruit.
Production presents its own set of questions: Will you go with a wine-type or base-type cider? Still or sparkling? Which apple and pear varieties are best for each style?
“This course gives a baseline and vocabulary to start talking to one another about cider production and addressing some of these questions head-on,” added Trussler.
“We have growers and producers in the same room learning about the process, both with and from each other, with the end result being the ability to make informed decisions and achieve positive progress for the cider and perry industry.”
Visit brocku.ca/ccovi or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Source: Brock University Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute.