New Zealand’s only female cider producer is Carmen Gray - an Award Winning Cider maker and owner of Elemental Cider which is located in Kuku, in the Horowhenua.
New Zealand’s only female cider business owner and producer of Cider in NZ, is Elemental Cider in located in Kuku and is owned by Carmen Gray - an Award Winning Cider maker.
At the recent NZ Fruit Wine and Cider Awards she was recognised for ‘Pohutukawa Flower’ which is a world first blend, along with Pear Drop as NZ best ciders.
Best Cider with Spice, Botanicals or Honey – Pohutukawa Flower 2023, Elemental Cider
Best Pear Cider (Perry) – Pear Drop 2023, Elemental Cider
Elemental Cider also took home 2 gold medals, 3 silver medals across her range of her ciders.
The NZ Fruit Wine and Cider Awards have been held annually since 1984 but due to the recent phenomenal growth of the Cider industry the NZ Cider Awards have been held independently since 2015. The Awards aim to recognise the high quality of Cider produced in New Zealand as well as the growing range of styles available.
Photo : UK Judge - Gabe Cook, The Ciderologis
Gabe Cook, an internationally renowned cider expert, hosted this year’s Awards evening. Hailing from the UK, Gabe is a leading figure in the cider world who last visited New Zealand to host the Awards ceremony of this prestigious competition, five years ago.
Gabe commented “It's great to see a real step up in the number of producers and the quality of cider being made, in the intervening period”
“I also love the fact that so many of the drinks are unique kiwi: Feijoa wine, Boysenberry flavoured cider and Pohutukawa flavoured cider are drinks that could be made nowhere else in the world!"
photo : 2022 medals
Carmen is truly passionate about her products, giving us a fascinating first hand insight into the lesser-known cider industry, operating here in the Horowhenua.
Carmen who is a chemical engineer by trade, formerly worked for NZ Trade and Enterprise, before completing a postgraduate degree in wine science at EIT in the Hawke’s Bay. She travelled the world for five years making wine in Austria and a notable time at Barossa Valley Estate in Australia. The process for making cider is the same as that for making wine.
The name Elemental Cider is inspired by their vision for living with the elements.
Elemental Cider makes four kinds of cider:
Dry As, which contains juice from 20 different apple varieties.
Totally Oaked made with Slack Ma Girdle and Kingston Black apples, which was a Gold and Trophy award winner in 2021.
Orchard Fall, containing apple, pear, quince and feijoa (which she hand scoops from the skin each season).
Pear Drop, which is a blend of Packham and Taylors Gold pears.
She has just launched her new limited edition flavour that has won at the 2023 Cider Awards – Pohutukawa.
Demand for her cider has taken off quickly, and they now have several growers supplying apples . One being an orchard in Ōhau with 1500 three-year-old trees, a pear grower in Kuku which has tier 3 pears, that are waste pears that would otherwise be trashed, but are perfect for cider making.
With demand and a new technology purchase arriving soon, this will see production doubling in the 2024 season.
photo : Elemental Cider at the local Kāpiti & Horowhenua Electra Business and Innovation Awards