Episode 15 - Gift of the Fruit
On the next episode, screening 24 June 2018 at 7pm on TVNZ 1:
Caroline and Alex Peckham’s apple orchard covers roughly 16 hectares and contains about 6000 trees, all selected especially for making cider.
In springtime the thick white blossom brings a smile to Caroline’s face.
“It’s exciting,” she says. “You can almost visualise the cider that’s going to come out the other end, because you can see what you’re getting from the different apple varieties.”
The Peckhams have around 30 different cider-apple varieties in their orchard at Upper Moutere, near Nelson, and each of them brings its own character and flavour to the resulting cider.
Many ciders available in New Zealand are made from apple juice or concentrate and contain added sugar. But the Peckham’s product is closer to a traditional English style.
“Our approach differs to the more mainstream ciders in that our starting point is the orchard,” Alex says. “Each year we have to do the best we possibly can with the apples and the juice that the orchard gives us.”
The Peckhams are very much hands-on themselves, but they’re ably assisted by a crew from around the world. Kevin Mayes from the west country of England is the orchard manager, Chilean wine maker Rodrigo Escobedo works with Alex as the cider-maker, and Nicola Honing from Bavaria in Germany runs the harvest team.
“I hadn’t had any cider before I came to New Zealand,” laughs Nicola. “In Germany it's all about beer. But I have to say I quite like it now!”
In a family-run orchard like the Peckhams’, the entire operation is simple and hands-on. Everything is done on-site, including bottling and canning.
“The first year we made 3000 litres, then 6000, and now it’s up to more than 150,000 litres,” Caroline says. “That’s still tiny, by comparison with the big producers, but plenty big enough for us!”
“The big challenge for us now is to develop rather than grow,” says Alex. “We want to keep increasing the quality and the variety of what we produce, rather than pump out more and more volume. And we're absolutely determined to keep the whole enterprise based around the quality of the fruit that is produced by our apple trees.”
Find out more about Peckham's cidery and orchard here.
Read more about the Moutere Inn here.
Find out more about small producers in Upper Moutere here.
Camera & Aerial Photography
Post Production Manager
Director & Associate Producer