Owned and operated by a philosopher and a stone sculptor, Salt Spring Wild developed out of a passion to create quality cider from the wild apples that grow on Salt Spring Island. Some of the apples in our blends are from 100-year-old heritage trees, some are from organic orchards, and some are from wild apple trees that live in farmer’s fields and along gentle roadsides, and that once fell with the breeze.
Our ciders are made with the wild apples and pears that grow on Salt Spring Island, and with apples from regional orchards. We never add any water. Our process involves slow-fermenting single varieties and allowing each to mature until it has fully developed. The ciders are then carefully blended for complexity and depth of flavour; our Dry and Semi-Dry ciders are each blends of over 10 different apple varieties! While the blending process is crucial (and arduous), the special character of our cider is due to the wealth of heritage cider apples that grow on Salt Spring, and to our commitment to making fully natural ciders. In general, you'll find that we tend to make our ciders quite dry, with delicate flavours (including our berry and plum ciders), and that's the way we like them!
The hard cider with its taste born of Salt Spring “terroir” and organic heritage apples became an immediate hit after Gerda Lattey and Mike Lachelt launched their business in July. A busy summer has led to not much downtime during the fall, as the couple works to press, ferment and bottle enough cider to meet the needs of next year’s market.
Learning how to create an alcoholic beverage that’s not just drinkable but enjoyable was a difficult learning process, but one that Lattey and Lachelt used their own tastes to help guide.
“To some extent true craft cider is very new to this part of the world. We’re in a position to take a leadership role, to say, ‘This is what we like,’” Lachelt says.
“But we also did market research to ensure what we liked was also what other people liked,” adds Lattey. What that means is not the mass-produced sugary cider that teenagers prefer, but something as close as possible to the traditional English version without having access to many cider apples. The difference between Salt Spring Wild’s semi-dry and dry versions is mainly one of sugar content, but even the former is refreshing and crisp.