Do Tassie apples make a different cider to Queensland apples?

In an Australian first, TIA PhD student Madeleine Way is testing if the quality of cider is affected by where an apple is grown.

 Madeleine has been busy fermenting small batches of cider with apples from across the country to determine how the quality varies in different locations.

“I am looking at how the quality of cider is affected by yeast, region and variety,” Madeleine said.

“This is important because there are so many different factors that can affect the quality of cider, so the more we understand the different influences, the more control we have over the style and quality of the end product.”

“It has been a fun and fascinating process, I’ve sourced six apples varieties from eight growing regions from around the country, made them into cider, and am testing their quality in the lab.

Good cider is heavily influenced by a fine balance of organic compounds called phenolics which are responsible for colour, taste, mouth feel and flavour.

Measuring these compounds allows Madeleine to compare the difference in content between the ciders.

This information will be shared with the cider industry to help improve understanding about the importance of variety and region in cider making, just like there is for wine.

Madeleine’s research is the first PhD ever to look at Australian cider and she hopes it will kick-start more research.

“There is very limited research in Australian cider and it is unknown how our apples and resulting ciders are different,” she said

“The highlights of my PhD so far have been interpreting results and sharing my findings with the cider industry, where my work has a real impact.”

“I have really enjoyed being able to share my research with a wide range of people from cider makers to people who otherwise would have no idea about different types of apples and how they change the flavour of cider.

“I have made some great connections and hope my research will lead to benefits for the industry.”

Madeleine is the recipient of a prestigious $120,000 Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship which supports her research into Australia’s cider industry.

“Not only did the scholarship provide me with funding, but it is also a leadership program which included an intensive 5-day leadership retreat. This allowed me to develop my skill set as well as create strong friendships with the 20 other scholarship recipients,” Madeleine Way said. “I’m fortunate to say I have a case of ‘the world is my oyster’. Through my PhD I have developed many transferrable skills and agriculture in Tasmania is very diverse.”