A WORLD-class apple breeder has visited Herefordshire to learn how to make superior cider.

Allan White, who retired from New Zealand’s prestigious Institute for Plant and Food Research after leading the fruit breeding programme over twenty years, has now started a venture to breed new cider fruit in New Zealand.

Currently, most New Zealand ciders are made with dessert apples, so cider maker John Powell has teamed up with Mr White to grow and select cider apples to make more sophisticated ciders.

As Herefordshire produces about a sixth of all the cider in the world and its cider makers are respected around globe, the county was an obvious destination for Mr White on his journey to discover more about the beverage.

As well as meeting cider makers, Mr White visited Hereford’s Museum of Cider, the largest museum focused upon cider and apples anywhere in the world. The museum owns orchards in Breinton which contain an extensive collection of different cider apple varieties.


This living collection is being extended and painstakingly evaluated by John Teiser, the museum’s volunteer conservator of fruit who is constantly on the lookout for old trees around the region that may bear long-forgotten cider apples.

The orchards impressed Mr White, who said “I am envious of the wealth of cider apple heritage that you are preserving in these important orchards. In New Zealand, where we currently don’t grow many cider apples, we are largely starting from scratch.”

Mr White is responsible for breeding some of the world’s most popular eating apples including Jazz and Envy, which are crosses of gala and braeburn, and a new small red snack-sized apple called Rockit. Each new variety involves a huge amount of scientific, horticultural, and consumer research.

He said his personal goal was to bring joy and a sense of well-being to the experience of eating apples.

"One of my best rewards is hearing of people who get pleasure from eating my apples," he said.

"I hope to have the same success with New Zealand ciders.”

Mr White's contribution to apple growing in New Zealand is explained in a story on the online exhibition programme Apples and People that has been run from Herefordshire over the last two years applesandpeople.org.uk/stories/apples-and-men