Name: Antonella Presta
Occupation: Cider Maker at Ironwood Cider
Appleseed Festival: If you were a cider, which one would you be?
Antonella Presta: If I were a cider, I would probably be our Perrydise 100% pear cider. It has a beautiful pear character from the Bosc and Bartlett pears it's made from, with a sophisticated smoothness from the extended lees contact. While it is unique and sophisticated, it also has a fresh, light pear flavour with smooth vanilla complexity. Yum!
Appleseed: What do you like most about working in the cider industry?
AP: Making cider is great, I find that there are so many flavour profiles that I am able to experiment with and have fun creating along the way. It’s great to be able to create ciders that reflect the nature of the fruit itself, while also being able to have fun on the side and create new and exciting blends or styles. Because Sunnybrook has a long history of making innovative fruit wines, my favourite ciders to make are the fruit ciders like cranberry and peach.
Appleseed: What distinct flavours do different apples provide?
AP: Apples have varying degrees of acidity, tannin (bitterness of the skins traditionally associated with cider apples) and sugar. They taste different based on these components. Apples have a lot of esters that give the characteristic apple flavours. I love their crisp malic acid freshness, how you can taste that same crispness in cider as you do when biting into the fruit.
Appleseed: What is your favourite apple to use in a cider/why?
AP: My favourite apple to use in cider making is probably Northern Spy. It's a staple Ontario apple that's widely grown and the bright apple flavour cannot be beat. Its higher acidity level also helps keep the resulting cider a little lighter, and more crisp than a cider made exclusively from Macintosh for example.
Appleseed: What is something we may not know about cider?
AP: Cider making is surprisingly quite simple, however it can be easy for things to go wrong. The biggest challenge when making cider is to maintain the natural flavours from the apples, while trying your best not to influence it too much. We are lucky enough to have a great working relationship with Martin’s Orchards in Elmira Ontario, where we source the majority of our apples. We do our best to make simple, crisp, clean cider, that stays true to the flavour of the quality fruit that we use. Uncomplicated, quality cider!