Devon wedding hotel plans its own Champagne-style cider

A boutique hotel in Devon plans to produce a range of ciders including a Champagne-style apple wine personalised for wedding couples.

The Deer Park Country House Hotel near Honiton has planted 1400 bush orchard trees and has applied for planning permission for a cider barn with a tasting room and laboratory. Managing director Mark Godfrey said the hotel plans to press around 50,000 litres of juice a year and will make a range of 10 drinks including a second-fermented sparkling apple wine ‘like a good Prosecco’, a Sauternes-like dessert cider and a perry.

‘Elegant’ cider aims to make big day bubbly

‘We’re predominantly a wedding venue,’ he said,’ and we get through about 7500 bottles of Champagne and Prosecco a year so we want to make something elegant and sophisticated that brides will absolutely want for their weddings’.

Wedding couples will be able to have their picture taken in the new seven-acre orchard, have bottles specially labelled for them, and collect a case of the apple wine every year after,’ Godfrey added. ‘And their guests can have a bottles their rooms.’

Architect's drawing of the proposed cider barn at Deer Park

Architect’s drawing of the proposed cider barn at Deer Park

Production to start this year

It will take four to five years for the trees to be fully productive. The hotel will buy in apples and press them on-site in the meantime. ‘I hope people will be drinking cider made here, by this time next year,’ Godfrey said.

‘It’s a 20-year project,’ he added. ‘People will be able to tour the orchards, see the process and taste the products.’

Branding details have still to be confirmed but the range is likely to be made as Buckerell cider,  named after the nearest village.

The hotel already produces a small amount of cider, which it uses in dishes such as pork marinated and slow-cooked over night in a wood oven. It also plans food and cider matching events at least once a year. ‘If we can produce a cider to go with roast meats, say a magnum to go with a haunch of venison from the park, why wouldn’t we?’ said Godfrey.

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