Le Pere Jules - Saint-Michel d'Halescourt, France

In front of a tonneau that was coopered in 1781, still in use for aging Calvados.

In front of a tonneau that was coopered in 1781, still in use for aging Calvados.

The 40 hectares of fruit bearing property strives to be as self-sustaining as possible by allowing cattle to graze in the orchard.  During the multiple month harvest, there is another 40 hectares that the cattle are moved to.  Roughly 60 varieties are grown with some of the highest producing trees being 200-year-old pear which yield up to 1 ton per tree in a heavy year.  The current cidermaker is 4th generation and another family member is a cooper who makes the barrels that are used in calvados, pommeau, and even some cider fermentation.

Standard orchard including standard cows.

Standard orchard including standard cows.

After pressing, the juice is held at 8 degrees Celsius to set the chapeau brun and then 12 degrees for fermentation.  It takes anywhere between 7-15 days to set the gel on top and if you wait too long it will drop which is considered a failed keeve.  Finished product is targeting a minimum 10% acidity and max of 15%.  If needed, some yeast can be added to absorb extra nutrients that might make the bottles over pressurized at the end of the process.  The desired bottle pressure is 2 bar at 20degrees.  Cidermaker shared that he has not had experience with a successful keeving of pear.