Guernsey, although a small island, has a large and accomplished apple growing and cider heritage. Its impressive cider production has been recognised and dates back to the 16th century when large quantities were shipped over to the UK. In 1998, the Meller family set out to continue the island’s legacy and revive the cider community through their Rocquette Cider creation.
The company started when the Mellers planted 3000 trees around their family home to get the unique cider production back on track, with an additional 2000 being planted over the years to cope with the growing demand.
The dedication to organic farming means that all the cider produced is natural with crisp apple flavours and real character. The family’s investment towards modern equipment facilitates the booming production of the unique cider so the family-run company can quench the ever-growing Channel Islanders’ thirst.
What makes Rocquette Cider unique is its commitment to creating delicious and organic cider produced using local apples from trees planted by the family themselves. Guernsey’s temperate climate and fresh Atlantic breeze with sun-filled days create the ultimate growing environment for the perfect apples so the Guernsey heritage of cider making can continue to thrive.
The Meller family still live at the farm and the cider-making team work from offices in the barn. The farm holds a real family feel, with quad bikes and tractors tending to the orchards and with the family dogs, Pip, Molly and Tia often making their presence known. The farm-values are held high, with exceptional care and attention to detail being brought to every step of the cider-making process, which you will be able to taste when you sample some of the farm’s famous produce.
Traditional Rocquette is a cider that has been uniquely fermented using techniques passed down through generations to guarantee an extra crisp yet dry taste that will appeal to even the most critical of palates.
The XC Exceptional is a light and refreshing cider for any time of the year, crafted from uniquely handpicked apples.
The perfect long drink for every occasion, you can enjoy the fresh taste of the flagship-product anywhere with steel, key keg and petainer keg types available.
A blend of fresh, sweet raspberries to make a uniquely fruity taste.
A cloudy medium dry cider made from apples grown in the Fauxquets Valley.
Crafted especially for the Sark Island Folk Festival, the Bec du Nez is a popular cider, working often accompanied with live music and distributed at various events around the islands.
A cloudy medium cider made with juicy, fresh fruit.
A medium ‘hop’ cider, a unique combination of carefully crafted hops and cider to make a drink oozing with floral aromas.
A medium cider with a crisp sweetness from the caramel and a soft bitterness from the tannin.
A cloudy dry cider that is full bodied and bursting with flavour.
A Channel Island Cider Brandy made from organic Rocquette Cider and produced on site, the Pomme d’Or is distilled in a copper still to make raw spirit before being aged for over three years in French oak barrels.
The Guernsey Apple Juice is a simple apple juice made from a wide selection of apples, handpicked from different suppliers around the island to create the ultimate celebration of Guernsey produce.
The cider tours at the farm are very successful and in high demand, finishing number one on Trip Advisor’s ‘Thing’s to do in Guernsey’.
You can book in for an evening tour, starting at 6pm and lasting approximately 1.5 hours. The tour involves being shown around the orchard as well as viewing the production facilities on the farm (including bee hives). You will also get a chance to see the copper still installed that produces the delicious Cider Apple Brandy, Pomme d’Or. To finish it off, you will be able to sample the range of ciders on offer in a newly developed tap room.
The price is £20 per person with a minimum of 10 people, yet if you have a smaller group, don’t fret as you can get in touch to see if you can join onto another tour! You will be able to buy any of the products and if you are staying locally, orders can be delivered during the week following your visit.
Being a part of the Guernsey Community is integral to the Rocquette Cider farm values and they honour this in several ways.
Every year, they get involved with the island’s ‘apple swap’, where apple orchard owners around the island meet at the farm to swap their own locally, hand-grown apples for cider, chutney or apple juice to supplement the harvest. This encourages the locals to support the Rocquette brand as well as reducing the waste from unwanted apples. This event can see as many as 300 swaps and 30 tons of apples being exchanged, making up for around 10% of the cider.
The orchard engages the community in a ‘Wassail’ event. This involves strange hauntings in the orchard during the depths of winter to encourage a strong apple crop. This bizarre tradition means that on a cold winter’s night, you will find many people drinking mulled cider around the Rocquette Cider orchard. The crowds of people will live out a strange tradition of making loud noises to scare off the evil spirits that would hinder the apple growth. Wassail translates to be ‘good health’ and is derived from the salute ‘Waes Hail’, accompanied with a mulled cider - who are they to break tradition?
Rocquette Cider is also a proud sponsor of the biggest music event in the islands’ festival calendar, Sark Folk Festival. The festival acts as the birthplace to one of the ciders the farm produces, Le Bec du Nez and the popular brew always sells out for this event. As a result, Le Bec du Nez has rapidly become a festival brew that now is available at multiple events.
Rocquette Cider is available throughout the Channel Islands in supermarkets, hotels and pubs and they offer their festive brew at many events and festivals across the Bailiwick. This unique cider is not something to miss out on – book your journey to Guernsey and make the most of what the delightful island has to offer today!