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Basque Cider – Harvest 2021


Abundant and high quality harvest in our apple orchards

  • Today we have been able to taste some of the varieties together with the first must of the 2021 harvest in the Plaza de la Trinidad
  • The apple sector has launched 3 projects this year with the aim of reducing the difference between harvests
  • Autumn is the ideal time to visit the cider houses: open days, guided visits to the cider cellars, being a cider / cider maker for a day and promotional actions for the consumer in our bars and restaurants in Gipuzkoa are some of the plans for this fall

Basque Cider – Harvest 2021

The Basque cider houses have begun to prepare the collection of apples for the Denomination of Origin in the apple orchards of Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia and Araba. This 2021 vintage stands out mainly for its abundance and quality. The inclement weather this summer has delayed maturity a bit in many apple orchards, but in others the degree of maturity has reached the rate of last year. The type of apple, the area, the point of maturity and the tastes of the cider makers will determine the exact period of collection, but from September to November all the local apple will be collected. 

Today he announced all these data at the press conference held by the cider sector, the Denomination of Origin Euskal Sagardoa and the Association of Cider Houses of Gipuzkoa, Sagardoa Route in the Plaza de la Trinidad. They were accompanied at this press conference by the representatives of Agriculture and Tourism of the Basque Government, the representatives of the Departments of Agriculture of the Provincial Councils of Bizkaia, Araba and Gipuzkoa; the representatives of the Department of Tourism of Gipuzkoa and the Association of Hospitality of Gipuzkoa. 

Most of the apple orchards were in full bloom in spring and this has helped the flower to set properly. 

It is a very healthy apple, which has matured little by little due to the summer weather conditions. Apparently we can say that it tends to give 0.5 degrees of alcohol less than last year and most varieties have given a lot. This gives the cider maker a unique opportunity to work according to each variety. 

In today's event, by the hand of Mikel Garaizabal, it has been possible to taste in the Plaza de la Trinidad 2 of the 24 main types of apple that are used in Euskal Sagaroa: Manzana Aritza and Geza-miña. Attendees have been able to taste the difference between sour apples and sweet apples: both are necessary for the production of cider, since one of them will provide freshness and aroma and the other will provide tannin, roundness and durability. The proper mixture of the different types of apple gives the cider its character and the touch of each cider house, and more and more Basque Ciders are sold with a mixture of apples of a single type or 2-3-4. The resulting must after each cycle will go to the kupelas to start fermentation. Thus, the production of cider will end in November-December and it can be tasted around January in the Cider Season, the new harvest of 2021 and from spring the first bottles of Basque cider from the harvest of 2021. 

Although it is too early to provide accurate data, it is expected that 5 million kilos will be collected from the apple orchards destined for Basque Cider. Every year more apples are produced in the apple orchards in the area, as existing apple orchards are cared for and new apple orchards are changed and brought into production. In this sense, the Euskal Sagardoa Denomination of Origin is establishing agreements between cider makers and cider houses, since long-term collaboration is the best way to increase their production, strengthen the sectors, position their products and guarantee their quality. 

The Euskal Sagardoa Denomination of Origin calls on apple producers so that, if they are interested in growing apples, they should contact the cider maker and the Denomination of Origin in advance to seek agreements and link the management of the apple over time. The mobilization of these new apple orchards at the last minute can cause problems, if the collection and work in the winery is planned.

Increase the production of native apple 

The Basque Cider currently has 250 apple producers and some 480 hectares of apple orchards. This entire apple is designated to the 48 cider houses of the Denomination of Origin to produce Euskal Sagardoa. We have apple orchards of different ages, and there are another 110 hectares that are now being incorporated into production and will do so progressively. Most of the new apple orchards have been installed in the territory of Gipuzkoa, most of them under the help of the Provincial Council, and also in Bizkaia and Araba. In this sense, the effort and commitment to try to put new apple orchards continues with the aim of continuing to professionalize the sector and the apple sector from the hand of the Provincial Councils, towards balanced and quality harvests. In recent years, great steps have been taken driven by the Euskal Sagardoa project and in the coming years the path followed by the apple sector will be essential, both for quality and for the growing presence of native apples. In fact, the sector and the administration clearly defined an objective in the creation of the Euskal Sagardoa Denomination of Origin: Produce 100% cider 100% natural cider in 15 years, that is, that Basque cider is a seal.

Three strategic projects in apple production 

In this sense, in addition to the installation of new apple orchards, last year the Denomination of Origin apple sector presented three priority projects to be technically developed, which have been put to the test this year: 

1. Pollination: the sector studies the capacity of local apple varieties to pollinate each other, with the help of Fruitel. The project is being carried out with UPNA and the results of the study will be known shortly. 

2. Thinning: the annual apple thinning in years of abundance to achieve a balanced harvest. Starting last year, the first pilot test was carried out with 9 apple varieties in 3 different apple orchards, and with 5 different indicators. We will know the results of this project in the year 2023. 

3. The land: More and more importance is given to the cultivation of the land and the formation of the sector is essential to balance the harvests and have a quality apple. Different courses have been organized for the apple sector for next fall.

24 different varieties of apple 

The Denomination of Origin Euskal Sagardoa has 115 types of apples, of which 24 are the most used, sweet and sour (salty). Each cider house looks for its favorite blend and cider. The 24 main apple varieties used in Euskal Sagardoa are:































Autumn for cider and guided tours of the cider houses 

Today we wanted to pay tribute to the Cider Day of San Sebastian. Although we cannot celebrate this historic event, we wanted to bring the work of the cider makers to the square: the elaboration to get the precious juice. 

It is also the most beautiful time of the year for guided tours of cider houses. In addition to seeing how cider is made, you can see the entire process first-hand. It is autumn and the time of production, and a year in which we offer the possibility of being a cider maker for a day. In the cider house you can produce your own cider. The visit can be completed with a meal at the cider house and whoever wishes can enjoy a weekend in our rural hotels. More information at

Sagarraren txokoa, the new project for schools 

In collaboration with the Denomination of Origin and Fruitel, Sagardoa Route has launched a new program with different teaching units for schools. This is a commitment to the future necessary for the cultural landscape to be a reference for the little ones.

Basque cider promotion 

The sector is excited to share with consumers the world of cider, its products and jobs. Therefore, he wants to thank the customer for his loyalty. Summer and autumn are the best time to taste Basque Cider in our restaurants and bars. And the hospitality industry is our great ally so that the product reaches the consumer. This was explained today by Arantxa Ciaurriz, representative of the Gipuzkoa Hospitality Association. The Gipuzkoa Cider House Association and the Gipuzkoa Hotel and Catering Association will launch a promotional campaign in Donostia and Gipuzkoa on September 18, in collaboration with Euskal Sagardoa. The objective will be to promote the consumption of the Euskal Sagardoa Denomination of Origin among consumers by awarding prizes to consumers.


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