We're firing through 2021 and now it's April and time for the next in Maxted's series of Inspiring Women. We'd like to shine a light on Clare, co-owner of Daylesford Cider.
Clare met her husband, Mackie, 8 years ago and together they learnt how to make cider and built their business in Daylesford, Victoria, producing homegrown, organic ciders. At their cider farm they have created a stunning venue that can host tours, weddings and events and a bustling restaurant serving homemade fare throughout the year.
Clare inspires us because she went on a quest to make incredible Australian cider and she has succeeded with her awesome business and cidery.
Maxted: How long have you had the cidery?
Clare: We took over the business in early 2015 - those 6 years have flown by!
Maxted: What first attracted you to running the cidery?
Clare: I had lived in Australia for a few years by then, but had always struggled to find a proper, craft cider, especially one that was also dry, tannin-driven and full of flavour. Sadly the very few options I could find were often full of sugar, very sweet and more inline with an alco-pop or RTD as they say over here. So the seed was planted, so to say, and the quest to find the right apples in the right climate in order to make ‘real cider’ began! A bit of research led us to this little gem in regional Victoria, where English heritage cider apple trees were planted and a small cellar door had been built, all begging to be put to good use!
Maxted: What's your favourite thing about running the cidery?
Clare: It is so incredibly rewarding producing something that you have been involved with every step of the way. My other half Mackie tends to the orchards throughout the year, ensuring a good healthy crop of heritage cider apples from which to make our broad range of ciders. I then get the pleasure of running our cellar door, restaurant and events space where I get to educate people about craft cider and introduce them to our ever growing varieties of cider. I love sharing the basics of cider-making with people and the importance of different apple varieties and fermenting techniques as cider culture is still relatively young in Australia.
Maxted: What's your favourite cider that you sell?
Clare: I absolutely love our 'Wild Oaked' and 'Yarlington Mill', both of which are small batch ciders from 2020. The former being dry, robust & complex, the latter being soft, subtle and a perfect aperitivo. Just like wine, there is a perfect cider for any occasion.
Maxted: Why Daylesford?
Clare: It has the ideal combination of factors in which to grow apples; predominantly fertile soils, ample rainfall & warm summers to ripen the fruit. We are lucky that the previous owner saw these advantages and grafted the trees back in 2003, meaning we have well established, productive orchards onsite.
Maxted: Favourite time of year?
Clare: Autumn is 100% my favourite time of year; always has been. It's just as much about the visual transformation of the countryside into yellows, ambers & reds as it is about my wardrobe and what’s on my plate.
Maxted: Where are you in that photo with the apples? Are your apples on-site?
Clare: I am with my other half and joint business owner Mackie, and we are checking the apples for ripeness as we move into harvest time. We are incredibly lucky that our orchards are a very short walk from our cellar door and cider factory, so we are very hands-on and in control at each step.
Maxted: Why do you like the Maxted Roll neck you are wearing?
Clare: I tend to feel the cold. People often joke that I’m bad at being English, and this jumper offers all the cosiness I need. I also find some fabrics tend to tickle or itch, but this is incredibly soft so I can wear as little as a t-shirt under, or can layer up and it still be very forgiving. Also, there’s no denying that green is my favourite colour!
Maxted: Anything else we should know about your cidery?
Clare: We are so lucky to have a great team behind us who enable us to run a cellar-door all year round and an onsite restaurant which is currently open 4 days a week with hopes to expand next season. Our website is the best source for current opening hours and all dining reservations, and we strongly recommend making a booking if joining us on a weekend. There is always a warm welcome awaiting you, and we are very much dog friendly in our outdoor areas
Clare is wearing our Soft Touch Roll Neck in Khaki. Shop our knitwear range here.