Cider Research at WSU NWREC
The cider apple research program was started at WSU Mount Vernon NWREC in 1979 with the planting of 2-4 trees each of 6 cider apple varieties. Today we have more than 70 varieties in our research orchards. We are carrying out research studies to characterize juice and varietal cider, investigate mechanical harvest and impact on fruit juice and cider characteristics, develop an effective management plan for apple anthracnose in western Washington and develop an effective management plan for apple anthracnose canker.
Variety Trial: Beginning in 2002, we have evaluated juice characteristics of the apple varieties planted in the WSU cider apple research orchard. Each year we select a few varieties and with the assistance of an expert cider maker we ferment each one sperately to create a varietal cider, which is then evaluated by a trained sensory panel.
Regional Cultivar Performance: From 2012 to 2015, the juice characteristics of four cider cultivars (Brown Snout, Dabinett, Kingston Black and Yarlington Mill) were compared for 4 orchards, 2 located in northwest WA (Alpenfire & WSU NWREC) and 2 located in central WA (Snowdrift & Tieton).
Mechanical Harvest Proof of Concept: From 2011 to 2015, the suitability of using an over-the-row mechanical harvester to harvest ‘Brown Snout’ cider apple was evaluated in terms of impact on fruit, impact on juice, and impact on the trees. Evaluation of impact on cider characteristics is slated to begin in 2016.
Apple Anthracnose Management: From 2014 to present, the lifecycle and disease cycle of this fungal pathogen is being studied in western Washington. We are evaluating spray treatments and cultural practices (carving out cankers and applying bleach, burning, copper sprays) to control apple anthracnose.
Results of the trial are included in the following annual Reports:
Hard Cider Production and Orchard Management in the Pacific Northwest (PNW 621) (11/2010)
New basic manual for hard cider making, based on variety evaluations and cider trials at WSU Mount Vernon NWREC. Order online.
Cost estimation of establishing a cider apple orchard in Western Washington. Wash. State Univ. Ext. Pub. FS141E. Galinato, S.P., Gallardo, R.K., and Miles, C.A. (2014)
Yield, Labor, and Fruit and Juice Quality Characteristics of Machine and Hand-harvested ‘Brown Snout ‘Specialty Cider Apple. Miles, C.A. and J. King. 2014. HortTechnology 24(5): 519-526.