100% fresh pressed Cider, Perry & Fruit Wine Judging: deliberations from our judges

Alternative drinks

Wed 12 Jul 2023

By Mila Gorchakova

Following the IWSC judging of 100% fresh pressed juice ciders, perries and fruit wines, we caught up with our experts to hear about the highlights of the tasting.

Launched in 2021, in partnership with Cider Is Wine, this is one of the “younger” IWSC categories which champions artisanal drinks from across the world. All entries for our cider, perry and fruit wine awards must be made from 100% fresh pressed juice and not from concentrate.

This year, our international judging team consisted of industry-leading buyers, sommeliers and cider experts: Alistair Morrell, founder of Cider Is Wine; Freddy Bulmer, buyer for The Wine Society; Adam Wells, cider communicator and founder of Cider Review and Vincenzo Arnese, director of wine at Raffles at The OWO.

Our judges tasted several cider classifications, including bottle-fermented cider, carbonated cider, Pet-Nat cider, still cider, flavoured cider, keeved cider, ice cider; as well as perries and fruit wines.“Overall, in all the categories, there were examples of really high quality, showing a good standard which can be achieved,” said the judges following the tasting. It was also clear that cider which had perhaps incorporated a less heavy policy of intervention showed greater breadth, allowing the fruit to shine through,” our experts added.

As for the stand-out flight, for the third year in a row, the ice ciders gave a brilliant performance, earning 5 gold medals, as well as several silver and bronze awards. “Their wonderfully resonant flavours, balance and acidity make them great food partners. These are very surprising drinks that will delight many people,” our judges commented on the success of the ice ciders.

The judges also highlighted that it was great to see the high-quality still ciders among this year’s entries. It was especially exciting to see still ciders perform so impressively, showing the results and flavours that can come from talented producers treating good, carefully-selected fruit with care and sensitivity - a real advertisement for the apple's potential,” said the judges.

Bottle-fermented ciders also showed well, and the producers who allowed the fruit greater expression while incorporating some more characterful varieties really stood out at the tasting.

Fruit wines and perries were somewhat more challenging to judge with our experts highlighting the great care needed to produce high-quality drinks in these categories. If you make fruit wines too alcoholic, the alcohol just drowns the fruit – so it’s all about the balance,” explained the judges. Indeed, the fruit wine that performed best earning a strong silver medal was one of the lowest alcohol ones – only 7% ABV.  

There was nonetheless a noticeable increase in the apparent quality of perries and fruit wines across the board, according to the judges.

A total of 6 gold medals, as well as 12 silver and 30 bronze medals have been awarded to ciders, perries and fruit wines – full results to be announced on Monday, 17 July.