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Bill Meaden started making cider and perry back in 2011 to use up local fruit that would otherwise have gone to waste. Cider making runs in the family, with Bill's Grandad and Great Grandad having made cider on their farm.
All the fresh fruit used in Cranborne Chase's ciders is sourced in Dorset. They manage an orchard of around 50 trees, which has several traditional varieties of cider apple - as well as two errant Bramley trees! Further fresh fruit comes from Longburton. They have recently planted a new orchard of over 100 trees, which Bill hopes will mean that once mature, all fruit will come from within 1 mile of Myncen Farm.
Bill keeps things as natural as possible, washing the apples in fresh clean water drawn from a borehole on the farm, without using any chemicals. Fruit is inspected before being pressed using a belt press, then allowed a long period to ferment using the natural yeasts present in the apples.
Cranborne Chase have won numerous awards for their ciders, in particular their multi award-winning Dorsecco, a fine, keeved cider that is naturally sweet and sparkling. Their 500ml bottled ciders are all named after historical figures from the local area, with the story printed on the labels.
A family business, Bill is aided by his wife and his father, along with dogs Mr Pudding and Scrumpy. They host an annual festival at the farm, "Last of the Summer Cider", as well as offering tours, and "farm gate" sales of cider along with other local produce from an adapted shepherd hut.
You can read more about Cranborne Chase Cider in an article by Dorset Life Magazine.