A Mosgiel couple's love for apple cider has led them to making their own.

Elisabeth Nicholson and Mark Hanger have about 90 apple trees across their Mosgiel property and Queensberry property between Cromwell and Luggate.

They grow an old English cider apple variety which is not often grown in New Zealand.

Mrs Nicholson is a nurse and Mr Hanger runs a tourism business, but they both enjoy growing the apples and creating the cider in their spare time.


They created cider from traditional apples as Kiwi cider was often made from eating apples and ''doesn't have the body old-fashioned cider apples have''.

She said creating the cider was quite a big task and took a long time but, once it was finished, it was all worth it.

The apples were picked in the autumn and then left in cool storage for about six weeks.

Mrs Nicholson said they needed to be rubbery so the sugar was developed. The higher sugar content resulted in higher alcohol content.

The apples were then chopped finely and placed in a cider press.

Mrs Nicholson said from their small operation they could get up to 150 litres of juice.

It was then put in bins for about a month and, once settled, was racked into demijohns.

Then the cider is finally bottled after Christmas.

Mrs Nicholson said there was a big difference between the apples in Mosgiel compared to Central Otago.

''In Central we have to irrigate and late frosts can destroy the flowers on the trees. . . the climate in Mosgiel is actually really good for growing these types of apples.''

She said it was important there was plenty of air flow around the trees as they could be susceptible to fungal diseases.

She said her and Mr Hanger's cider making was all self taught with the help of ''YouTube and lots of books''.

''It sort of seems like magic. . . it starts out looking brown and cloudy and really uninviting then you filter it and it clears and suddenly it becomes cider.''

Southern Rural Life