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The Nelson Photo News



Cider Centre of New Zealand

Thousands of motorists and bus passengers whip through Stoke every day without glancing twice at a long, low building set just inside the town limits on the main road. Inside that building, and extensive buildings at the rear, the Rochdale Cider Company is catering for the palates of New Zealanders throughout the length and breadth of the country. Here is New Zealand's only cider manufacturer, and from this building hundreds of thousands of bottles of cider are despatched each year. The company began its operations on this site during the Second World War and the new building was erected in 1951. At the rear are more than a hundred huge vats holding hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw apple juice and cider in the first stages of maturing. None of this is bottled until full maturity is reached-about three years. We thought you'd like a look behind the scenes at this very interesting and ever-growing Nelson industry. Above-Scenes like this, with Val and Eric Homer celebrating Eric's 50th birthday with a bottle of Rochdale, are commonplace all over the country.


The main factory of the company.


The cider story begins in the orchards of Nelson and the winery of Noslen Wines Ltd., Redwood's Valley. The apples are taken to the winery, washed (Left), pulped and prepared for pressing (Above) by Peter Snow, Graeme Dron and Jack Barton. The layers of pulped fruit are pressed (Below Left) and the raw juices extracted run off in to one of several holding, vats (Below) and then taken to the Rochdale factory for further processing.


At the factory the raw juice is stored in huge vats. Laboratory tests on this juice influence its further processing. Sugar content must be exactly right, and should the juice require it, sugar will be added.


Paul Woods prepares to sugar a batch of raw juice. Right - A few of the huge vats holding juice and cider in various stages of maturity. Before the final processing, the cider passes through a complex pasteurisation and filtration plant, operated


by assistant foreman, Don Busch.


The final stages of the transformation from raw apples to tasty cider is brought about in the main building. Here is located the main washing, bottling, capping, and labelling plant. Here the finished product is packed for New Zealand. Above - The plant.


Foreman Eric Homer at work in the lab.


Bottles on the way to labelling and packing. Far Right - Greg Olsen gets on with the packing. Below - Another shipment leaves the factory.