Dunkertons history reaches back to 1980 when Ivor and Susie Dunkerton made the decision to escape London and buy a small holding in Pembridge, Herefordshire. They realised that with such a small amount of land they needed to specialise in some form of agriculture and spotted that traditional cider making presented a fantastic opportunity.
At that time in Herefordshire there were two companies that dominated cider production with very few traditional cider makers despite the vast number of orchards. Ivor and Susie set about making a unique cider whilst operating in a similar fashion to a vineyard. Importantly they wanted to make cider without using concentrates or chemicals therefore working with what mother nature had to offer, using the land and eco system to help them produce pure fruit cider apples and perry pears grown in their own orchards at Pembridge. By 1988 Dunkertons Cider had been awarded Soil Association certification as both grower and producer for their commitment to environmental values.
Their enthusiasm for working within the organic system attracted other organic fruit growers from the Herefordshire area. Soon Ivor and Susie were pressing their own fruit alongside the fruit of the other growers – some of whom still provide cider apples and perry pears today. Nowadays apples and pears are supplied from growers scattered around the three agrarian counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
In 2014 Ivor and Susie passed Dunkertons to their son Julian and his business partner Bean.
In 2016 the production business relocated to our new state of the art cidery at Dowdeswell Park, Cheltenham.
The Dunkertons way
For nearly forty years we have been making premium organic cider and perry crafted in artisan spirit and vision. Using distinctive flavoured cider apples and perry pears we hand blend the juices using skills and techniques lost over time to the advances and pressures of mass production.
Seasonality plays a part in our process as we harvest our fruit annually from September to December and deliver it to our cidery in Gloucestershire. We press the fruit and pump the juice to vats for the natural fermentation process to begin which can take anything up to a year to finish. The longer the juice is left - the richer the depth of the flavour – the more superior the product.
We carefully monitor the juices throughout the long fermentation process. Timing, testing, fermentation and maturation is critical to producing a superior product.
Once we are satisfied that the juice has converted to a suitable depth and body we can begin the bottling.