Overall Drinks Winner: Killerton Estate
Winner of the Overall Drinks Award for its Medium Sparkling Cider was the 6,000 acre Killerton Estate near Exeter, one of the largest estates looked after by the National Trust.
Killerton’s 20 hectares of orchards are home to over 100 traditional apple varieties including the oddly named ‘Slack-ma-girdle’ and ‘Hangy Down’ varieties, with some trees over a century old. Managed naturally, these diverse orchards are a real haven for wildlife and the estate team are passionate about maintaining the trees for their botanical and historic interest, as well as for their harvest.
“Harvesting the apples is a real community effort, local people, Trust staff and volunteers all get involved” said Fi Hailstone, Killerton Produce Ranger, “The apples are collected by hand and then crushed on site using a 200 year old traditional cider press. Killerton cider is created through a passion to manage the countryside in a sustainable way. Traditional orchards are important for biodiversity and more generally a really beautiful place to spend time. Any profits from sales go straight back into the conservation work at Killerton, helping us to plant lost orchards and to look after the current ones, for everyone to enjoy.”
Completely hand-picked, this medium cider scored most highly for its full-flavoured, complex character with notes of toffee apple and subtle smokiness.
Killerton Estate produce is used in the restaurant and café at Killerton and is also sold in the shop.