...there were the ciders of the Pays d'Auge and of Cornouaille!We are known to ancient peoples and we went by the pleasant names of "Chekar" in Hebrew, "Sikera" in Greek and later "Sicera" Latin, meaning "intoxicating beverage".Wherever we originated, we "apple wines" made from fermented apple juice became sidre then cider during the first millennium.The drinking of cider and especially perry in France, a historian from Lisieux, Mr. Louis Du Bois, tells us, dates back to the late 6th or early 7th century.
"These drinks passed, before the invasion of the Moors, from Africa to Spain and Biscay (Spanish Basque country). It was from these regions that the ancient seafarers of Dieppe brought back the best varieties of apple and pear trees then known".
The arrival of these first grafts enriched the Norman genotype with its abundant varieties of crab-apple trees. Normandy gave a home to these trees with a natural environment favourable to their development in terms of soil and climate, and over the years growing them became a source of wealth.
Enhanced pressing techniques, the importing of improved seedlings, and the axing of the Normandy vineyards by Charles IX were all factors that contributed to the rise of cider production. Enjoyed by both French sovereigns and the clergy, cider became part of the 15th century lifestyle. Gentlemen planted, grafted, pressed and tasted. This bountiful period for the producing areas of Brittany, Normandy and Maine lasted until 1914 and was established by the work of many pomologists who were interested in growing the tree, selecting the top varieties, and they worked at enhancing cider-making techniques.
However, the economic upheavals generated by the two world wars changed the orchard landscape. A certain disinterest for the fruit, the emphasis on productivity to the detriment of tastiness and the State's waiving of alcohol quotas heralded the end of traditional production. In the 1980s, the producers of the Pays d'Auge and Finistère showed their determination to safeguard their varietal inheritance and led the way with replanting.
In order to protect cider from a particular place made from local cider apples and using traditional production techniques, producers in the Pays d'Auge and Finistère requested AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) status.
Nearly ten years of investigations into varieties, production conditions and soil analysis to delimit the geographical "appellation contrôlée" area earned them the right to use the names "Pays d'Auge" Contrôlée and "Cornouaille" Contrôlée in March of 1996.
The agricultural framework law of January 2006 led to a review of the specifications of the AOC Pays d'Auge and Cornouaille approved by Decree n°2099-1350 on 29 October 2009.
Since March 2006, the AOC is protected at European level within regulation n° 510/2006.The Protected Designation of Origin (AOP) is the transposition at European level of the French AOC for dairy and food industry products (apart from the wine sector).
As of 1st May 2010, regulation n°628/2008 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, mentions the obligation to mark the AOP logo on the labels for protected designation of origin products, such as Pays d'Auge cider and Cornouaille cider.