About me

Me

Me

During my career as a West Country based photographer I’ve had the pleasure of visiting numerous cider orchards.  Acting in my professional capacity I’ve been lucky enough to work for cider producers both big and small.  This has led to a personal fascination with the craft (and believe me, it is a craft) of cider making and all that goes with it.

I have also worked with a number of European wine producers.  I’ve walked and photographed their vineyards, been enthused by their vintners and, of course, sampled their produce.  However, resplendent as they are, it’s my contention that Britain ’s apple orchards, ancient and serene, have their own unique beauty and atmosphere surpassing anything on the continent.  And they are right on your doorstep just waiting to be discovered!

In my experience the cider maker is almost invariably a passionate artisan expertly blending his apples prior to transfer into Oak vats where his precious liquid will ferment to perfection.  The French use the term ‘terrior’, roughly translated as “a sense of place”, to denote specialist wine producing regions.  I’m yet to meet a cider maker unwilling to recognize and attribute the importance of the soil, climate and trees in his specific local to the creation of his nectar, and with this in mind I feel Britain and specifically Somerset are equally worthy of the accolade.

Like the Trees themselves, my interest has blossomed over the years and these days I make frequent unpaid visits to photograph my favourite orchards, fill my lungs with the clean air and refresh my soul.

This website is my homage to the beauty that is the cider orchard.  Through my photographs I’ve tried to capture the essence and inherent beauty in all stages of the cider making process.

It’s a fact; there is no greater pleasure in life than crunching through a carpet of apples in an orchard in the autumn.  And providing you ask the Farmer beforehand the chances of being shot at in the act are greatly reduced!

the poem below explains things pretty well…

autumnal equinox

days as

aromatic as

apples fermenting,

as strong as

sweet new

cider,

the autumnal

embrace of

harvest and decay

intoxicates me,

makes me join

the finite pageant,

dance the last dance

faster than any before,

a mad nymph

in the temple

of Bacchus,

before darkness

wraps me in

its unyielding arms

kisses me to

eternal sleep.

september 2005

Ulrike Gerbig


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4 responses to “About me

  1. I am one of the admin team on Cider Workshop. One of the other members of the team sent me a link to your blog about a month ago to contact you with a view to including your interesting blog within the Cider Workshop website (http://www.ciderworkshop.com)

    We are a bunch of cider and perry makers and drinkers who like to discuss the subject – including orcharding and apples. With this in mind, I think putting your site up as a blog for members to read would be a good thing to do. However, I will not do this without seeking permission first.

    Please would you let me know if you are happy for us to do this.

    Kind regards

    Jez Howat

    • southwestsnapper

      Hi Jez,

      Yes I’m very happy for you to put my site up. We certainly need lots of advice for our cider making venture etc.

      Speak soon,

      Neil

  2. Hi Neil, inspirational website. We are in the process of setting up a community cider project down in Devon on the western side of Dartmoor. We have a head start in that we have a community orchard that was setup 10 years ago that is now producing good lots of apples. A few people in the village have made their own cider over the last few years but we are now going to do something similar to your project. Interesting that you are producing a commercial cider – was it difficult to go through that process of licencing, measuring, labelling etc? Do you think its practical to do it in that timescale – eg.harvest in Oct and be fully licenced and ready by Feb?

  3. Hey,

    i think what you’re doing is Great! I am currently involved in setting up a UK network of urban and rural community fruit harvesting projects, and i would love to put you on my network for a contact point for the Gloucestershire region,
    if you are interested in what we got set up in sheffield see http://www.growsheffield.com/pages/groShefAbund.html

    Thanks,
    and enjoy all the cider!

    Stephen

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