MAKING APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Our philosophy in making apple cider vinegar is also rather simple. We believe that to make a good vinegar, you need to have a good cider. And to make a good cider, you need good apples.
Step 1 APPLES TO JUICE
Press apples to make apple juice. No ascorbic acid or any additives used - just apples! Apples with high sugar content result in a higher alcohol content which in turn results in a stronger vinegar.
Step 2 JUICE TO CIDER
Add yeast to juice immediately. No sulphur added. Wild yeasts are still present but the added yeast predominates. Airlock is added. Fermentation usually complete in 2 -3 weeks.
Step 3 CIDER TO VINEGAR
The cider is then decanted, and is ready to be converted into vinegar. In order to convert the cider to vinegar it is necessary to expose the cider to air in the presence of "Mother of Vinegar".
We use a traditional method called the "Orleans Process" which is a very slow process taking many months in oak barrels. The oak barrel lays on its side, with muslin covered holes drilled in the top and sides to allow a flow of oxygen into the barrel. The barrel is filled with cider (and vinegar containing "Mother of Vinegar" from the previous batch) When the vinegar reaches the desired acidity one third of the barrel is bottled before being refilled with cider.
The vinegar is not pasteurised so the "Mother of Vinegar" often become visible as gelatinous, whitish strands in the bottle. This is clear indication that the vinegar is a living, natural product and does not mean that the product has deteriorated.
Most vinegar manufacturers make vinegar in a matter of days by constantly mixing oxygen with cider in heated stainless steel tanks (sometimes with the addition of oak chips), and then pasteurizing the end product. This results in an entirely different product to unpasteurized vinegar made in an oak barrel over many months.