The Basque country is home to over 100 different varieties of Apples, with cider making dating back to the 11th and 12th century. It is known to have been used by Basque whalers and fishermen on their long-distance trips to Greenland and Newfoundland in preference to water.
The first record of the relationship of the Zapiain family with the production of cider is a document dated June 3, 1542. It’s a manuscript for the sale of an 87-foot plot of apple trees located in Astigarraga, granted by Ana de Abedaño (widow of Bernardino de Murguía) in favour of Joanes de Zapiain. This document is in the archives of the Casa de Murguía (Valde-Espina Marquises).
Quality management and food safety are two other fundamental pillars of their cidery. Not surprisingly, Zapiain has promoted the improvement of the sector in recent decades, actively contributing to the establishment of the Gorenak quality certificate and subsequently to the implementation of the Euskal Sagardoa designation of origin.
Having fallen out of popularity in the 20th century, Basque cider is certainly back in the spotlight and Zapiain are leading the way. They are steeped in history as is evident by their barrel-room, but are also very forward-thinking and innovative. They’ve recently been experimenting rather successfully with an aged ice-cider!