Sidra Madeira PGI

Description: Sidra da Madeira: The beverage obtained from the alcoholic fermentation of the natural must (first-pressed juice) from fresh apples (Malus domestica Borkh.), and sometimes from mix of fresh apples and pears (Pyrus communis L.), from traditional varieties and from other varieties of these species produced in Madeira Island and elaborated following the traditional production methods.
SSidra da Madeira is presented as a natural cider obtained exclusively by fermentation of the natural juice from the cutting, crushing, and pressing of various combinations of fresh apple fruits and sometimes also apples and pears, whose sugar and carbon dioxide contents are solely of endogenous origin, and can also appear as gasified natural cider, with effervescence resulting, in whole or in part, from the addition of carbon dioxide.
In general terms, Sidra da Madeira has: a minimum alcohol content of 5% (by volume at 20. ºC); a maximum fermentable sugar content of 15 g/l; a total acidity (in malic acid) of at least 3 g/l, possibly reaching 10 g/l; a maximum volatile acidity (expressed as acetic acid) of 1.8 g/l and a maximum total sulphur dioxide content of 200 mg/l, expressed as SO2.
Combinations of the varieties and species of fresh apples or mixes of fresh apples and pears used to produce SIDRA DA MADEIRA, make it to present different colours that can go from bright citrus to straw yellow, with orange nuances, and it may either be turbid or clearer, when filtered.
Sidra da Madeira is usually still but can be carbonated (by addition of carbon dioxide), 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. Traditional varieties most used in SIDRA DA MADEIRAproduction are: “pero Domingos”, “pero Calhau”, “pero da Ponta do Pargo”, “maçã Barral”, “maçã Cara-de-dama” e “maçã da Camacha”. São ainda usadas, embora com menor expressão: “pero Amargo”, “pero Branco”, “pero Boal”, “pero da Festa”, “pero Focinho de rato”, “pero Vime”, “pero Bico de melro”, “pero de Ouro”, “pero Pevide”, “pero Rajado”, “pero Rijo”, “pero Riscado”, “maçã Baionesa”, “maçã Espelho” and “maçã Parda”, sometimes also pears like “pera do Santo” and “pera Tenra de São Jorge”, but other varieties of apples and pears exclusively produced on Madeira Island can be also used.
When ripe the fruits are selected and washed, before crushed and pressed to extract the natural must, which is placed in wood containers, stainless steel 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 natural ciders, including those intended to obtain carbonated ciders.
From the experience accumulated over generations, in each production area, Madeiran producers know how long after the "tumultuous fermentation" ends should their cider rest to stabilize. Nevertheless, SIDRA DA MADEIRAstands out for keeping a pronounced acidity that comes mainly from the effect of the acid soils of the island on the fresh apples or mixes of 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, where is stored until bottling or packaging in proper containers (barrels or carboys), intended for beverage establishments or restaurants for subsequent retail sale to the final consumer.

Special features: What distinguishes Sidra da Madeira and induces its characteristics of diversity of colours, aromas and flavours with a vibrant acidity that give it great notoriety among consumers, is to be a natural cider, sometimes also carbonated, which results exclusively from the fermentation of the natural juice from various combinations of fresh apple, and sometimes also of mixes of fresh apples and pears, from traditional varieties and other varieties of these species, grown and harvested in various locations on the island of Madeira, with more temperate microclimates and with mainly acid soils.
The particular edaphoclimatic characteristics of these locations on the island of Madeira, allowed the easy propagation of pome fruits and the development of a great diversity of apple and pear varieties, giving their fruits a characteristic acidity that, depending on the combination of varieties and species used, in a greater or lesser degree, it is also transmitted to Sidra da Madeira.

Production area: All stages of Sidra da Madeira production, from the harvest of its essential raw material, to the natural juice extraction operations, fermentation, aging and preservation and to its bottling or packaging in proper containers (barrels or carboys), for subsequent retail sale to the final consumer, take place on Madeira Island.

History: Madeira Island, located in the subtropical region of the North Atlantic, with its volcanic origin and pronounced orography, of very irregular relief and rocky mountains, intersected by deep valleys, which form a central range of east-west orientation and with altitudes above 1200 meters. Its geographic situation determines that it has a mild climate and a reduced temperature range, except in the higher areas, where lower temperatures are observed. The island's orography and its exposure to the trade winds determine the existence of a wide variety of microclimates and a sunny and protected south slope, while the north slope is darker, cooler and more humid.
The particular edaphoclimatic characteristics and the smallness of the island habitable and arable territory of the island, required the creation of an agrarian landscape characterized by its small farms, with numerous and dispersed terraces (locally called "poios"), filled with land rich in organic matter and, generally, with high levels of phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, resulting from the intense soil fertilization carried out over the generations by Madeiran farmers, which are supported by support walls, mostly with settled stones, and flanked by "levadas" (water transport channels) that throughout the island, continue to transport the water needed to supply the populations and for irrigation purposes in small Madeiran orchards and vegetable gardens.
In areas of the island, with more temperate and humid microclimates, especially above 400 to 500 meters of altitude on the south slope and 300 meters on the north side, predominate Cambisols and Andossolos, with acidic to semi-acidic characteristics and with good conditions of aeration and drainage, that contributed to the easy installation and propagation of pome fruits.
Among the first fruit trees introduced on the island were 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’s believed that cider production on Madeira Island began as soon as the orchards began to produce sufficient amounts of fruit for its, if considered the reports of the Chronicler Gomes Eanes de Zurara (1410-1474) and others historical records that mention that it was possible to find cider, then called “Vinho de Peros” (apple wine), among the supplies that, since the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese Navigators went to fetch from Madeira Island.
During the 17th to the 19th centuries, the production of this “vinho de peros” followed the development of Madeira Wine production, using the same "lagares" (presses) and, in some cases, even adulterating it. At the beginning of the 20th century, with the recovery of the wine sector, the vinification of pears and apples for the production of false Madeira Wine became prohibited, and this ban determined that many regional producers started to promote the fermentation of theirs fresh juice of apples and pears, for production of “a new drink”, that they first started to call of “cidra” and, more recently, “sidra”.
The ease dissemination of pomes trees allowed the emergence of several traditional varieties that came from the first ones brought by Portuguese settlers and later from the ones introduced by the British who inhabited the island between the 17th to the 19th centuries, and which were selected and preserved by Madeiran producers in various locatives of the island, preserving those more adapted to the local conditions and that provided fruits with the best characteristics for fresh consumption and for cider production, and which later, by grafting, were reproduced and propagated in other areas of the island with similar edaphoclimatic characteristics.
This practice over the centuries has allowed the development of the main traditional varieties, and also the more recent introduction of other commons varieties of apples and pears, grown and harvested in Madeiran orchards and which are also used by some producers in the production of their ciders, obtained according to the traditional production methods, and which are also distinguished by their sharp acidity.
For establishment of traditional way of Sidra da Madeira production, had a great contribution the article published, in August 1906, by Agronomist João da Mota Prego (1859-1931), in “Heraldo da Madeira” (local journal), with description of the procedure that he adopted in the “Manufacture of cider in Madeira”, revealing the care to be taken and the income obtained. Also the Agronomist Vieira Natividade (1899-1968), in his work “Fostering Fruit Growing in Madeira”, described and characterizing the diversity of traditional varieties of apples and pears on the various parishes and highlighting the localities that, at the end of the first half of the 20th century, had tradition in cider production.
All this historical references that, in the last 600 years, document the importance of “vinho de peros”, “cidra” and “sidra” production on Madeira island, leads local producers to claim that it production has been active since the beginning of the settlement and justifies that production and consumption of Sidra da Madeira are so representative throughout the island, but mainly in the parishes of 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.
The attributes of colour, aroma and flavours and it's remarkable acidity, linked to edaphoclimatic conditions and to the mixes of diverse varieties of apples and sometimes also apples and pears used in it's different production areas, have allowed Sidra da Madeira to obtain several prizes at the nationals competitions: "Traditional ciders and beers" and "Great Taste - Portugal", but are local consumers and, increasingly, tourists, which give it great notoriety.
The growing interest in Sidra da Madeira led, in 2016, to the creation of APSRAM - Association of Cider Producers of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, bringing together more than 30 producers from the different productions areas, with the main objective of ensuring the promotion and protection of Sidra da Madeira quality guaranteeing its genuineness and encouraging investigation, demonstration and promotion of its production.

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 
Aviso n.º 453/2021 de 23.07.2021