A world-renowned north Suffolk cider firm expects a vintage year thanks to the sun.
One of the partners of Aspall, based in the village of the same name, said that 2013’s sunny summer had provided ideal growing conditions for apples.
Henry Chevallier Guild added that while reports of a bumper crop volume-wise have been exaggerated, the quality of this year’s apples – particularly in the dessert and culinary varieties, which account for a high proportion of Aspall’s mix – should be extremely high.
He said: “Qualitatively, we think the summer weather will contribute to higher sugar levels in the fruit than we’ve seen in recent years; yet at the same time the acidity levels won’t be significantly lower as the sunshine hasn’t been consistent. This is particularly relevant for the style of cyder produced at Aspall, with our emphasis on a higher dessert and culinary mix. The cyders we can blend as a result of this summer’s weather is why we are forecasting a vintage year for Aspall Cyder.”
But, Mr Chevallier Guild said that while the UK’s apple crop was due to be 23 per cent up on 2012, this would only bring the total into line with the long-term average, as 2012 had been substantially worse than normal.
Two key components of the Aspall mix, the Cox and Bramley varieties, were expected to be up by 19 per cent and 14 per cent respectively compared with last year, but, in keeping with long-term downward trends, this would still leave their volumes 14 per cent and 18 per cent lower, respectively compared with 2011.
Mr Chevallier Guild, said: “In spite of extremely positive forecasts volumetrically, we are anticipating quite an average year. Almost all varieties, including Cox and Bramley, will be up on a particularly poor 2012 harvest; however, they are unlikely to exceed crops from pre-2012.
“Only Gala, and some more recently introduced varieties like Braeburn, are showing consistent long-term growth in volume. So the general view is that it won’t be the bumper harvest some are predicting.”
Aspall, founded in 1728 by Clement Chevallier, is now run by the eighth generation of the family. It produces a wide range of ciders, vinegars and apple juice, and its ciders are sold in pubs and supermarkets across the UK, and all over the world, including the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China).