Cider’s class

Cider: the new fine wine

-Ciderology talk hosted by a cider expert in Aberdeen
-Showcasing quality cider made in comparison with fine wine
-Aberdeen has great prospects to grow apples and produce its own vintage cider

Ciderologist Gabe Cook was in Aberdeen on Thursday night hosting a talk about the sophisticated side of cider.

Gabe explained to a room full of local cider brewers and distributors that to produce quality cider is as complex and nuanced a process as making high class wine.

Gabe was invited to Aberdeen to host a talk which was attended by craft brewers, suppliers and bar owners who had come as far afield as Glasgow to attend the event.

Gabe hosting a talk and tasting session at Waterstones in the Bon Accord Centre

Gabe has considerable experience in the alcohol industry having worked for Heineken and Weimea Estate Wines. He’s also written a book on the history and making of cider called ‘Ciderology’.

Gabe’s book ‘Ciderology’ available at Amazon


Gabe explains that ‘ciderology’ is a ‘new’ branch of research that focusses on everything about cider from the history to the making to the different varieties the apple can produce when pressed into alcohol.

“It’s about the making and the apple varieties.  It’s about the history, the heritage, it’s about tasting and obviously it’s about drinking.”

Quality cider vs vintage wine

Gabe argues that what the apple produces in fermentation can be similar in quality to what’s produced on the vineyards of France and Italy.

“Cider is made more like a wine.  Every harvest you collect the fruit and press it and the natural sugar within the juice gets converted into alcohol.  But depending on what the weather has been like on any particular year, even the fruit from the same apple trees will taste ever so slightly differently.”

Aberdeen’s surprisingly healthy apple trees

While Gabe was in the North East he visited some of the walled gardens being restored in Aberdeenshire that would, in Victorian times, have produced valuable fruits like peaches, pears, and the apple.

Gabe was surprised at the health of apple trees growing this far north considering that in order to produce quality apples the trees need light, heat and not too much rain. 

Walled garden on the Cluny Castle estate
Apple trees at Cluny Castle

Gabe believes the quality of the crop coupled with the high acidity levels of the apples produced in the north east (acidity levels are the main indicator of how tasty an apple will be) means Aberdeen may have a golden future in cider production that could one day rival the traditional cider counties of Somerset and Worcestershire.

“The idea of North East of Scotland as being a hotbed of cider activity  was something that I might not have believed until I had taken this visit up here.  There’s absolutely no reason why this part of the world can’t become synonymous with fabulous cider making.”

Walls conduct heat from the sun that give apple trees energy to grow
Gabe and local grower Colin Booth inspecting the crop at Cluny Castle
There are hundreds of walled gardens across Scotland

Catch more of Gabe at the  Check out what he had to say about Aberdeen’s promising cider beginnings in the video below.   

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