The 8th South Somerset Cider Sampling took place on Friday 9th September in the Village Hall at Hinton St.George. The annual event was as popular as ever as members of the public were handed tickets to sample the many ciders on display in return for a modest entrance fee.

Catherine, daughter of Derek and the late Gill Esp, presenting the Cup for Best Farmhouse Cider named in memory of her mother, to Dante Strong of Bridport’s Dorset Nectar Cider.

Ciders on offer ranged from one person artisan producers to larger concerns such as Perry’s and Burrow Hill.  This year saw the introduction of a competition for the best Farmhouse Cider, the winner to be awarded a traditional, hand-made, two handled cider mug made by local potter Les Farris.  The award is named the Gill Esp Cup in honour of a well-loved Hinton resident who died last year.

Gill’s daughter Catherine joined the judging panel of renowned cider brandy maker Julian Temperley, author, poet and cider expert James Crowther and David Stagg visiting from Australia where he is a leading cider maker and proprietor of the Daylesford Cider Company . The inaugural winner of the Gill Esp Cup was Dorset Nectar Cider from Bridport.  Local producer Nigel Witcombe of Merriott was a close runner up with his Hizzen Cider.

Commented Matthew Bryant, joint organiser with Kenton Bourne…..

“We feel that the South Somerset Cider Sampling is now an established part of the Somerset cider scene. It was a great to be joined by new producers such as Nigel Witcombe and Harry’s Cider too, and also to have an international judging panel with David Stagg. Dorset Nectar were worthy winners of the Gill Esp Cup and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all. Dorothy’s Tea room provided food and the event will have raised several hundred pounds which will be divided between Hinton Village Hall and Church, but with half the proceeds going to Cancer Research in memory of Gill Esp. We look forward to welcoming people to next year’s event on Friday 8th September 2017.”