Apple varieties for wine and cider

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ChuckD

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Im starting my vineyard this spring and want to include a few apple trees for wine… I haven’t made it yet but I’m sure cider is in my future as well. Do any of you northern growers have recommendations for wine & cider apple varieties. I have a nursery nearby with hundreds of apple varieties. My existing trees consist of two Zestar and one Wolf River. All just starting to produce. I’d like to add four or five trees.
 

Scooter68

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Not sure the best varieties for where you live but if you are planting apple trees primarily for wine/cider making the most common recommendation I've seen is that you should use at least 60 percent tart apples and so no more than 40 sweet apples for the best flavor. Other than that, I'd plant based on what grows best in your area.
 

hounddawg

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i like a lodi apple and a green granny smith apple,, but i aint a northerner,,, southern to the bone, what i don't understand is we loose 3 outta 4 years, yet you go to the new England,, fruit in almost ever yard, i saw tons of fruits pears, apples, cherries, and i do literally it is mean tons, it is yards full of fallon fruits, i'll never forget, after work id walk thru neighborhoods , staying on the side walks, i'd bring back to the motels more the a 8 man crew could eat,
Dawg
 

Rice_Guy

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@ChuckD My view;
I can go to the sugar bag or honey pot and put the alcohol where ever I want it > sweets
I can go to the acid blend or malic or dump in phosphoric to kill yeast when wanted > sharps
If I judge wines I frequently complain about low fruityness > russets are interesting (but then why not use passion fruit or quince or ? for aromatics)
If I judge wines length of flavor scores higher/ scores more interesting > bitters
FoodScience teaches we eat with our eyes first > red flesh (with polyphenols antioxidants)

i have ordered Otterson, Nieitzerkratz and two other red flesh this year. ,,,FYI, If we troop over to D.L. after the summer vinters picnic he has promised to put together a tasting set for me, he is up to 400 apples
 

Scooter68

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Dawg - I think the reason we lose out with so many of our fruit trees is that are in sort of middle ground. If we were further south we would not likely have as many killing frosts that ruin things. Further north and the trees would stay dormant longer and not bloom so early. I've had plum trees that that bloomed like crazy and yet after 10 plus years of having trees that could bear.... we've had maybe 1/2 bushel for ALL those years combined. I'm going to be cutting down my best/biggest plum this year because a borer has killed off about 1./2 of the tree or more. I had 5 plum trees for the last 3 years and it looks like now I may have 3 if they don't succumb to that borer. So my location and likely yours as well are in the mixed up middle area where we only get fruit if things are just perfect. I have pictures of the big, dying plum when it was totally white with blossoms and from it, I've eaten maybe 6 plums from it in 10 years. Now blueberries - Those go great here. Only lost the crop twice and the second time was last year - got about 30% of normal last year and didn't even try to fight the birds for the berries.
 

ChuckD

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@ChuckD My view;
I can go to the sugar bag or honey pot and put the alcohol where ever I want it > sweets
I can go to the acid blend or malic or dump in phosphoric to kill yeast when wanted > sharps
If I judge wines I frequently complain about low fruityness > russets are interesting (but then why not use passion fruit or quince or ? for aromatics)
If I judge wines length of flavor scores higher/ scores more interesting > bitters
FoodScience teaches we eat with our eyes first > red flesh (with polyphenols antioxidants)

i have ordered Otterson, Nieitzerkratz and two other red flesh this year. ,,,FYI, If we troop over to D.L. after the summer vinters picnic he has promised to put together a tasting set for me, he is up to 400 apples
Thanks. I think I’ll still order a variety of cider apples covering sweet, tannic, and acid. They have a few red flesh varieties and crab apples too. I figure with more varieties comes more options for flavors.
 

hounddawg

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Dawg - I think the reason we lose out with so many of our fruit trees is that are in sort of middle ground. If we were further south we would not likely have as many killing frosts that ruin things. Further north and the trees would stay dormant longer and not bloom so early. I've had plum trees that that bloomed like crazy and yet after 10 plus years of having trees that could bear.... we've had maybe 1/2 bushel for ALL those years combined. I'm going to be cutting down my best/biggest plum this year because a borer has killed off about 1./2 of the tree or more. I had 5 plum trees for the last 3 years and it looks like now I may have 3 if they don't succumb to that borer. So my location and likely yours as well areoocin the mixed up middle area where we only get fruit if things are just perfect. I have pictures of the big, dying plum when it was totally white with blossoms and from it, I've eaten maybe 6 plums from it in 10 years. Now blueberries - Those go great here. Only lost the crop twice and the second time was last year - got about 30% of normal last year and didn't even try to fight the birds for the berries.
scooter, that makes 100% since to me, from my travels across the USA, 46 of lower 48, and try as i might,, it just made no sense , i mean in the new england states, i'd never seen so much fruit in yard after yard,, if i get super lucky i get 1 outta 4 to 6 years, common since, told me on down south they get good crops, but in the new england states, they get more and better looking fruit, but what you said makes so much since to me,, and i thank you for learning me a lesson that i have pondered on over the years, the northern new england states, is what really threw me, i have went as far as buying solitary bees which native to america, they make no honey, yet one bee pollinates more trees , crops, and flowers then 20 honey bees do, Thanks Man
Dawg
 

franc1969

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Thanks. I think I’ll still order a variety of cider apples covering sweet, tannic, and acid. They have a few red flesh varieties and crab apples too. I figure with more varieties comes more options for flavors.
I would look at growingfruit.org and read a bunch of threads about growing apples. You need to look at deer pressure, lower disease problems, water needs, etc. I am putting M111 in as base rootstock, because it resists wooly apple aphid and deals with water very well, makes a well anchored tree. By itself it makes a large tree, but I am doing interstems to deal with size. Dwarf on top, selected variety over that. Everything mostly resistant to fireblight because of where I am. I am doing mynown grafting, there are trees you can buy this way, or on Geneva rootstocks that are good. I just am doing this cheaply with the old tried and true. The first time, the animals liked the trees too much, so I am using all the rootstocks. We'll see what I get.
On varieties - plant what you like, you can always graft a branch of something else into your tree later. For instance, I don't know that I'd need a large tree of some of the most tannic or bitters, but a few would do fine. You can always grow the most unappetizing for fresh eating cider fruit and add commercial fresh cider for the sweet part. Hard to find cider fruit, easy to find sweet.
 

Rice_Guy

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RenaisanceOrchard.com in Wa state has a good selection of apple varieties, it feels like the choice is infinite.
As a general trend red flesh seems to be higher in poly phenols (tannic material), Selecting varieties in the arborateum it seems that 20% of the crabs have interesting tannin taste ,(https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324546834_Red-juiced_apple_cultivars_for_Great_Lakes_production )
Hope the tree nursery only has good crabs, my crab so far is prairie fire. Hard to process/ 1.5cm but good tannins.
I did a lot of reading this evening and ended up placing an order for a few russets, a red flesh apple, and a crab for tannin.
For where you are you might research moon berry (haskap) State fair had an exceptionally aromatic haskap wine in 2021.
 

Sailor323

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Im starting my vineyard this spring and want to include a few apple trees for wine… I haven’t made it yet but I’m sure cider is in my future as well. Do any of you northern growers have recommendations for wine & cider apple varieties. I have a nursery nearby with hundreds of apple varieties. My existing trees consist of two Zestar and one Wolf River. All just starting to produce. I’d like to add four or five trees.
I tried making wine from apples in my orchard--several different varieties. The results were way less than spectacular. Very little apple flavor or aroma carried over into the finished wine which was drinkable anyway. I also tried using apple cider which I bought and had the same results.
 

ChuckD

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Very little apple flavor or aroma carried over into the finished wine
Did you press and ferment the juice or chop and ferment the whole apple? I have been coring then chopping up the whole apple. I get lots of gross lees but plenty of apple flavor and aroma. The first two times I used Macintosh. The third was a variety of bakers. That one is still in the secondary.
 

Sailor323

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Did you press and ferment the juice or chop and ferment the whole apple? I have been coring then chopping up the whole apple. I get lots of gross lees but plenty of apple flavor and aroma. The first two times I used Macintosh. The third was a variety of bakers. That one is still in the secondary.
I chopped and macerated the apples for about 5 days. I added tannin, pectic enzymes and used Montrachet yeast. When I pressed the apples I added sugar.
 
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Raptor99

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I chopped and macerated the apples for about 5 days. I added tannin, pectic enzymes and used Montrachet yeast. When I pressed the apples I added sugar.
Did you cold macerate before fermentation, or macerate during fermentation? I guess if "maceration" means to leave the fruit in the primary during fermentation, then I macerate all my fruit wines.
 

Sailor323

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Did you cold macerate before fermentation, or macerate during fermentation? I guess if "maceration" means to leave the fruit in the primary during fermentation, then I macerate all my fruit wines.
Macerate during fermentation.
 

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