two old friends, a chance meeting and an unhealthy obsession with apples...

Secret Orchard is the beloved project of old school friends and cider enthusiasts,  Joe Heley and Todd Studley.  
 
Back in the mid noughties, Joe was working as a tree surgeon and was inspired one day whilst pruning trees in a small traditional orchard on the somerset levels. With the sun shining through the apple trees, creating a vision of biblical proportions, Joe realised he was put on this earth to make cider.  He immediatley set about telling anyone who would listen how much he would love to spend every minute of his life making the finest drink on earth.
 
No one really took much notice, apart from Todd, who decided it may actually be a bloody good idea.
 
A couple of years later Joe was still bothering anyone who would listen with his cider preaching, when a chance meeting at a dinner party put in him contact with Tom from Nettlecombe estate, who it just so happened did have some orchards and the apples were going to waste.  A couple of visits and a funding bid later, the boys set about getting set up in a barn and so began their obession with creating the very best cider possible.
OUr mission: Create the most remarkable and complex ciders through the simplest means possible. 
 Launch party 2013
These days  our knowledge and craft has improved significantly since the early days, and our approach has been cemented through our experience:
 
  • 100% apple juice from orchards where no chemicals have been used. No concentrated syrup cider here. 
 
  • Always letting the wild yeasts provide a natural fermentation. The flavour is far better than when using a manufactured yeast as many commercial cidermakers do. Why interfere when nature gives the best results?
 
  • Keeping our cider at low tempretures to ensure a slow fermentation.  No need to rush. All our ciders are aged for close to a year to ensure proper flavour development. 
We truly believe that the best cider is made this way.
 
Not all cider is created equal
 
p.s. ours is the best
Joe and son Cassius picking apples
Dulcie with a barrel of 'Dulcie's delight'
Joe and Todd back in the day. A very bright day.

a few photos of the early days....

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