Collected by variety from late September to mid-December, either by hand or by machine, the apples are stored in a dry, well-aired place for several weeks until perfectly ripe: apples stored in the attic or in wooden openwork "palox" crates.
The pulp is then slowly pressed with traditional pack (rack and cloth), hydraulic or pneumatic presses. The musts obtained present a natural minimum sugar content of 108 grams per litre. This apple juice or pomace is immediately stored in vats and after a few days of waiting, the solid matter rises to the top and naturally filters the juice to form a thick, brown head on the surface. Underneath the head, the liquid becomes perfectly limpid, clear, shiny, poor in nutriments and ready to ferment slowly.
It is then racked into air-tight stainless steel or fibre glass vats, and under the action of yeasts naturally present on the apples, part of the sugar is turned into alcohol over a period of several months. To preserve maximum flavour, this fermentation must take place slowly at low temperature (around 10°C). At least six weeks are required before bottling and various vintages can be blended to fine-tune the aromatic balance.
During fermentation the yeasts turn the sugars into alcohol. Fermentation is monitored by measuring the specific gravity. As fermentation progresses, the alcohol level gradually increases and the sugar level, measured with a densimeter, decreases. The producer chooses the specific gravity at which to bottle his cider and racks or filters it one last time in order to control the yeast population as well as possible. In the bottle, the yeasts, their number having been adjusted, then produce a natural effervescence which gives the cider its semi-sparkling character. This natural foam taking in the bottle essential to the development of the Pays d'Auge cider takes at least six weeks in a cool cellar.
The "Pays d'Auge" ciders obtained after the foam-taking must have the following characteristics:
• acquired alcohol content by volume greater than 3.5%,
• total alcohol content by volume greater than 6 %,
• a sugar content greater than or equal to 20 grams per litre,
• a carbonic dioxide content greater than 3 grams per litre