The pioneering juice company that’s putting rare British apples back on the


We use wine glasses, and swirl and sniff in best Jilly Goolden style. Wildpress is using apples from four farms, and first up is Waltham Place, a biodynamic farm in Berkshire. The single variety juice is made from Monarch, a kind of cooking apple.

I expect sourness, but it is fresh, with a good sweet-acid balance, down to harvesting at the end of their season in November, says Nanjuwany. A touch of bracing tannin at the end keeps it interesting enough to have as an aperitif.

Next up is Palace Doctor, a blend of Blenheim Orange (hence the “palace” for Blenheim Palace) and Ashmead’s Kernel, a variety allegedly raised by a Dr Ashmead in Gloucester. It is a headily pear-scented juice, with floral notes, that makes it good for drinking with pudding.

Finally we try the innovative Vivienne 30 Days, made with fruit that has been stored for a month before pressing. Ageing apples deliberately might sound odd, but it’s a venerable technique: Shakespeare mentions “apple-johns”, apples thaa are kept until wrinkled and semi-dried, intensifying the flavour. And the Vivienne, named in honour of Dame Vivienne Westwood, is amber, deep and rich, with a pleasing dry, savoury smell.

Variety is the goal, and not just of apples. The business has a bigger vision, to play its part in boosting national wildlife, according to Grout, by sourcing all its apples from orchards “where there’s visible, rich biodiversity”. Biodiversity is declining alarmingly, say environmentalists, with the UK in the bottom 10 per cent of countries.

This matters, says leading conservationist Mary Colwell, who is behind the natural history GCSE expected to launch in 2023. “The more biodiverse we are, the more robust the system is. Within the past six decades we have lost over 50 per cent of the mass of wildlife on Earth. Half the number of birds sing, half the number of bees buzz, half the number of wild flowers bloom.”

Having a broad variety of plants matters in agriculture as well as in the wild, as any banana expert will tell you. For international exports, banana farmers worldwide rely on a single cultivar, Cavendish, with all plants cloned from one originally grown at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. But this monoculture has left the industry vulnerable.

Diseases like black sigatoka and fusarium fungus spread when there is little diversity, threatening to wipe out entire crops.

Smaller orchards with tiny crops of perhaps a couple of trees in each variety is not generally commercially viable compared with vast single-variety mega-farms. But Wildpress can press small loads in Buckinghamshire, and sell a batch of a few cases of bottles on the website. It’s these little orchards we need to treasure, says Grout.

“These small orchards could potentially be lingering in the corner of a larger estate, they might have been earmarked for grubbing up and replacing with more…



Read MoreThe pioneering juice company that’s putting rare British apples back on the

The pioneering juice company that’s putting rare British apples back on the


We use wine glasses, and swirl and sniff in best Jilly Goolden style. Wildpress is using apples from four farms, and first up is Waltham Place, a biodynamic farm in Berkshire. The single variety juice is made from Monarch, a kind of cooking apple.

I expect sourness, but it is fresh, with a good sweet-acid balance, down to harvesting at the end of their season in November, says Nanjuwany. A touch of bracing tannin at the end keeps it interesting enough to have as an aperitif.

Next up is Palace Doctor, a blend of Blenheim Orange (hence the “palace” for Blenheim Palace) and Ashmead’s Kernel, a variety allegedly raised by a Dr Ashmead in Gloucester. It is a headily pear-scented juice, with floral notes, that makes it good for drinking with pudding.

Finally we try the innovative Vivienne 30 Days, made with fruit that has been stored for a month before pressing. Ageing apples deliberately might sound odd, but it’s a venerable technique: Shakespeare mentions “apple-johns”, apples thaa are kept until wrinkled and semi-dried, intensifying the flavour. And the Vivienne, named in honour of Dame Vivienne Westwood, is amber, deep and rich, with a pleasing dry, savoury smell.

Variety is the goal, and not just of apples. The business has a bigger vision, to play its part in boosting national wildlife, according to Grout, by sourcing all its apples from orchards “where there’s visible, rich biodiversity”. Biodiversity is declining alarmingly, say environmentalists, with the UK in the bottom 10 per cent of countries.

This matters, says leading conservationist Mary Colwell, who is behind the natural history GCSE expected to launch in 2023. “The more biodiverse we are, the more robust the system is. Within the past six decades we have lost over 50 per cent of the mass of wildlife on Earth. Half the number of birds sing, half the number of bees buzz, half the number of wild flowers bloom.”

Having a broad variety of plants matters in agriculture as well as in the wild, as any banana expert will tell you. For international exports, banana farmers worldwide rely on a single cultivar, Cavendish, with all plants cloned from one originally grown at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. But this monoculture has left the industry vulnerable.

Diseases like black sigatoka and fusarium fungus spread when there is little diversity, threatening to wipe out entire crops.

Smaller orchards with tiny crops of perhaps a couple of trees in each variety is not generally commercially viable compared with vast single-variety mega-farms. But Wildpress can press small loads in Buckinghamshire, and sell a batch of a few cases of bottles on the website. It’s these little orchards we need to treasure, says Grout.

“These small orchards could potentially be lingering in the corner of a larger estate, they might have been earmarked for grubbing up and replacing with more…



Read MoreThe pioneering juice company that’s putting rare British apples back on the