The fascination of orchards:
Fruit distillery – a simple and understandable word, which, however, on closer examination and intensive study of the subject, contains many problems and also secrets. If you want to understand fruit distilling correctly, you need a basic knowledge of fruit varieties and cultivation, as well as of physics, chemistry and microbiology. However, these natural sciences should not be a deterrent, but should encourage intensive study and experimentation.
Anyone who has ever studied the processing of fruit raw materials, distillation and sensor technology will not be able to get away from it. I can confirm this from my own experience. During my studies of food technology at the University of Hohenheim, I had the opportunity to take part in further training seminars for fruit distillers and later to give lessons myself. However, I soon realised that theory alone was not very satisfying.
Therefore, a distilling right, a distillery and the necessary land – i.e. orchards – had to be purchased. This sounds very simple, but for a beginner in this field, everything was connected with great effort and financial commitment that should not be underestimated. Many setbacks, especially in the cultivation of the fruit and the production of the raw material, caused a quick disillusionment, and the thought of planting a fruit tree, to care for it a little and to bring in the first good harvest after some 10 years, turned out to be a pure dream. The young trees, which survived the first attacks of deer, wild boars and voles and were not carried off by diseases such as monilia, fire blight, pear rust etc., stole unwelcome contemporaries complete with tree stake, sweep protection and vole basket. Nevertheless, through plant protection seminars, literature studies and the help of many friends, they succeeded in producing and distilling their own fruit.
The distilling process itself has lost none of its fascination to this day. There is still a little bit of alchemy and magic in the copper cauldrons, which are used to separate the alcohol and aromas from the fruit, compress it and collect it in the distillate. Even today, there are many uncertainties in the production of mash and distillation, especially in the pre- and post-distillation separation.
Quantity is still put before quality – often not out of bad faith but out of ignorance. In order to eliminate such ambiguities, to give beginners an easy introduction and experienced fruit distillers sound background information on the production and assessment of high-quality fruit spirits, I offer lectures and seminars on this topic. This is also because I would like to share with you my many years of experience in practice, teaching, seminars and tastings.