The profession is attracting more women and young people, business is booming and sustainability is a key ingredient. A cider from Normandy was named the best cider in the world in 2023 and Normandy has never shone so brightly in the cider world. Let’s introduce you to 5 Normandy producers, flying the flag for their land!

French content
In video!

Le Pressoir d’Or

What is Le Pressoir d’Or? It’s an area in Eure and a family business founded in 1987, where Margaux Doré has been working with her father Eric since 2015. The father and daughter team went down the organic route in 2020 to fulfil customer expectations.

My first cider? My dad makes it so I had it when I was little, maybe not in my bottle but close.

Sweet, sharp, bitter, bittersweet: the orchard at Le Pressoir d’Or is home to fifteen varieties of apple covering forty hectares. That means Eric and Margaux can make a wide variety of cider such as brut, extra brut, ice, rosé, dry and medium-dry that often win prizes at the Concours Général Agricole. “Communication and marketing are bringing cider up to date. We’re moving away from the old-fashioned image plus producers have improved the quality of their products,” says the young woman. Le Pressoir d’Or is always trying something new so it doesn’t rest on its laurels. One of its trials is still cider.

Le Pressoir d’Or

Cider helps showcase Normandy because it's a product with history, long-standing craftsmanship, a key local industry and our orchard is famous around the world!


Domaine de la Galotière

This time we have a business passed down from father to son. Jean-Luc Olivier and his wife Nathalie keep their cider legacy alive at Domaine de la Galotière, founded in the 60s in Orne. They put all their expertise into AOP Pays d’Auge cider, perry, pommeau, calvados and apple juice. Their son Pierre will follow in their footsteps as he joins them as a partner in 2024.

I'm a cider lover: it's a great product that suits any occasion, it can take you from the start of a meal to the end – it has a low alcohol content and is full of goodness because it's packed with polyphenols* (editor's note: renowned for being anti-aging).

La Galotière’s orchard has been organic since 1997. It covers 45 hectares with standard and half-standard trees with 43ha of apple trees and 2ha of pear trees. The couple use their 50 varieties of apple to make up to 23 different products in a range of sizes, including 330ml. “We export to 10 countries, primarily Europe but also America and Japan. Cider is an iconic Normandy product since our region is the biggest producer in France. Normandy is also home to the most orchards and the highest density of producers,” says Jean-Luc Olivier. The smooth Pays d’Auge cider stands out for its pleasantly bitter flavour that’s low on acidity. Its unique features make it a keeper that you can store for 3-5 years.

It's a modern, up-to-date product because it's low in alcohol, very natural and doesn't use much water so it's very eco-friendly.


Cidrerie Hérout

This is one of the most iconic cider brands in Le Cotentin in Manche: Hérout has been in Auvers since 1946 and has become a mainstay at restaurants worldwide. Three young Normans took over the company in 2018 but Marie-Agnès Hérout is still a partner in her family business. “One thing that stands out about our products is that we only use heritage and local varieties. Their bitterness forms the backbone for our cider,” says Jean-Baptiste Aulombard, manager and partner.

I see cider as a lively, natural drink. It has a low alcohol content: it's a very clean, refreshing and delicious product.

It’s a well-known brand with drier than average cider that has real bite. It is sold in fifteen countries: America, Scandinavia and Asia (China, Japan and Taiwan). This Norman cider gets the thumbs up outside Normandy and France. What else sets it apart? Marie-Agnès Hérout’s foresight, as she recognised the value of giving her products a vintage and campaigned for Cotentin cider to be given the AOP designation (protected designation of origin). She was also a pioneer in organic farming as the cider has been approved as organic since the 70s.

maison Hérout

Cider is getting more and more up-to-date with young producers joining the industry and long-standing cider makers passing on their expertise: there's a drive to upgrade products, try new things, test unusual fermentation methods (i.e. in wine barrels), experiment with blends etc. It feels like we have more of a winemaking approach to natural cider and that makes it more modern.


Ferme de la Sapinière

Michel Legallois has been lovingly growing 38 varieties of cider apples since 1991 at Ferme de la Sapinière in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer in Calvados. What makes his cider so special? It’s fermented naturally, degassed and unpasteurised. The producer puts his technical expertise into making 6 vintages using apple yeast. There are classic brut and medium-dry ciders plus “the delicious Louise Gautier in honour of my grandmother, the Rivage for pre-dinner drinks and the latest is the Apple Oak, fermented in casks for 5 months and 3 months in cognac barrels,” says Michel Legallois.

Cider? There are lots of different types and lots of ways to make it. There's something for everyone: light ones, strong ones, traditional ones… they're all good: they all have their place.

The seaside orchards in Bessin make the cider stand out: the unique climate (Normandy is famous for having every season in one day) and sea breeze tend to scorch the tree leaves and produce a certain acidity. This Normandy cider has conquered the world as it’s sold in Mexico, Germany and Belgium.

Cider is experiencing a renaissance right now. It's seen differently: specific vintages are paired with certain dishes. It's the wine world, just with apples!

Ferme de la Sapinière

Les Normandises du Pradon

Emmanuel Palfray is proud to champion Normandy cider and what makes his land so unique in the Pays de Caux plateaus in Gonfreville-L’Orcher, near Le Havre in Seine-Maritime. He is president of CidrExpo and Maison Cidricole de Normandie. “Pays de Caux cider, which we hope will be awarded a protected designation in the next few years, has a USP: it’s light with a hint of acidity and a slight bitterness,” says the producer who breeds chickens among the standard trees in his orchards.

Cider is a drink I associate with my childhood. Its image has come on leaps and bounds since the 90s/00s. We've worked on its consistency and aromas to enhance the flavour.

Cider apples, apple juice, vinegar… the blend of bittersweet or sharp apples create its signature. “Cider is all the rage right now because young people are getting on board, either as producers or consumers. Drinking cider isn’t embarrassing anymore.” Unlike English cider, the cider apples come from our land and have helped make it so popular.  Slow fermentation, similar to winemaking, captures Normandy’s quality and craftsmanship.

LES NORMANDISES DU PRADON

We used to have a fairly basic and boring product: now it's become a gourmet product with a new way of marketing it. Most importantly, we have a cider map nowadays as every place has its own signature: cider from Cotentin is different to Perche, it's different to Pays de Caux and this diversity is what Normandy stands out for.


KEY FIGURES

Normandy grows 60% of French cider apples. The industry has won over new consumers by adapting to society’s expectations and expanding into apple juice and cider vinegar. Over a third of its orchard has converted to organic farming.

 

Normandy is a leading region:

  • 3000 cider apple growers
  • 350 cider makers
  • 9000 hectares
  • 3000 organic hectares
  • 61 million bottles of cider produced annually
  • 5 million bottles of calvados
  • 600,000 bottles of perry
  • 600,000 bottles of Normandy pommeau
  • 25 million bottles of apple juice

Was this content helpful?