Sidra Madeira PGI

Description: SIDRA DA MADEIRA: The beverage obtained from the alcoholic fermentation of the natural must (first-pressed juice) of fresh apples (Malus domestica Borkh.), and sometimes of mix of fresh apples and pears (Pyrus communis L.), from traditional varieties and from other varieties of these species produced in Madeira Island.
The combinations of varieties and species of fresh fruits used to produce SIDRA DA MADEIRA, make it to present different colours that can go from bright citrus to dark yellow, with orange nuances, and it may either have a turbid aspect or a clearer one, when filtered.
SIDRA DA MADEIRA is usually still, not too sweet and light, and it unfolds, showing harmony between the acidity and bitterness, ending up dry and standing out due to the presence of apple in its scent and flavour, as well as to the freshness granted by its unique acidity.

Production method: SIDRA DA MADEIRA is produced from fresh apples and, eventually, from mixtures of fresh apples and pears exclusively from local production. When ripe the fruits are selected and washed, before crushed and pressed to extract the natural must, which is placed in wood containers, stainless tanks or other reservoirs, where the fermentation begins. In this phase, it is possible to mix naturals musts from different varieties of apple and pear obtained within the geographical area identified.
Fermentation usually occurs only with the natural compounds and the conditions from the fruits and the microorganisms from the must and the fermentation containers. However, it is possible to use some technology products and to apply oenological practices and treatments approved for ciders, including those intended to obtain different types of natural ciders, like sweet, sparkling, flavoured or carbonated ciders.
The experience accumulated across generations, in each production area, makes Madeira Island producers know how long after the "tumultuous fermentation" ends should their cider rest to stabilize. Nevertheless, SIDRA DA MADEIRA stands out for keeping a pronounced acidity that comes mainly from the effect of the acid soils of the island on the fresh apples or fresh apples and pears that originates this cider. Once this resting is complete, SIDRA DA MADEIRA is ready, and can be mix with ciders from different containers, in order to obtain a more homogeneous production with or be transfer to the wooden casks or barrels or to more inert containers like stainless tanks or others, where is stored until bottling or placing at market as not pre-packaged.
SIDRA DA MADEIRA can be presents as bottled cider or as a non-pre-packaged cider, packed in proper containers for food and beverage establishments.

Special features: What distinguishes the different types of SIDRA DA MADEIRA and induces its characteristics of colour, scent and remarkable acidity, very appreciated for Madeiran consumers and now also for visitors, is that these ciders are made exclusively from fermentation of the natural juices of fresh apples or mix of fresh apples and pears from traditional varieties and from other varieties of those species, cultivated and harvested across Madeira Island, in zones with more temperate microclimates and with mainly acid soils, following traditional or particular forms of production.

Production area: Every step of SIDRA DA MADEIRA production, from the harvest of its main raw material, to the extraction of the natural must, the fermentation, the storage and conservation and its bottling or preparation for placing at market as not pre-packaged, occurs in Madeira Island.

History: The volcanic origin and pronounced orography of Madeira Island, along with its location in the North Atlantic subtropical area, determine the existence of a great variety of microclimates that allowed the acclimatization of plant species that were once introduced by the first Portuguese settlers. Among these species were introduced some varieties of apples and pears, that found the best conditions in several zones above 500 meters on the South side and 300 meters on the North side of the island, mainly with sandy-clay soils and with pH acid to semi-acid, providing with a sharp acidity to the apples and pears produced locally.
It is believed that SIDRA DA MADEIRA production started shortly after the beginning of the settlement of Madeira island, because there is evidence of cider, then called “Vinho de Peros” (apple wine), among the supplies that Portuguese Navigators used to seek at this island's ports, from the 16th century.
The ease dissemination of apples and pears trees allowed the emergence of several traditional varieties that came from the first ones brought by the Portuguese and later from the ones brought by the English, during the XVI and XVIII centuries. Since the beginning of the XVII century, the production of this “apple wine” followed the development and production of the distinguish and highly sought Madeira Wine, using the same "lagares" and even tampering it, in times of crisis.
At the beginning of XX century, the practice of winemaking of apples to obtain a fake Madeira Wine was no longer allowed. Agronomist João da Mota Prego (1859-1931) published in August 1906 at “Heraldo da Madeira” (a daily newspaper), an article about the procedure he adopted in the “Fabrication of cider in Madeira ”, revealing the care adopted and the results obtained, which inspired many producers to resume the production of cider. So, producers started to ferment the fresh juice of apples and pears to produce a “new drink” that was firstly named “cidra”, and later changed to “sidra”, since in Madeira “cidra” corresponds to the fruit Citrus medica.
All this historical references that document, in the last 600 years, the importance of "apple wine", "cidra" and "sidra" production on Madeira Island, lead local producers to state that its production is kept alive from the first settlement until now, in the areas more favourable to the of the orchards of fresh fruit used in its production, and justifies the expressive tradition of the production and consumption of SIDRA DA MADEIRA, especially in Santo António da Serra (Machico), Camacha, São Roque do Faial, Jardim da Serra, Ponta do Pargo and Prazeres, where every year are organized several ethnographic and sociocultural events to promote the SIDRA DA MADEIRA and the fresh apples that originate this special drink.

Product specification (pdf)

Producer group
APSRAM - Associação de Produtores de Sidra da Região Autónoma da Madeira

Control and certification body
CTAC-RAM - Comissão Técnica de Avaliação da Conformidade dos Produtos Agrícolas e dos Géneros Alimentícios da Região Autónoma da Madeira

Publication in EU official journal

Publication in the Portuguese official journal
Aviso nº. 18/2020/M de 14.05.2020
Despacho nº. 1/2020/M de 27.10.2020