May 2014 Event-Cider Vinegar Workshop

Costa DiBiase from Acetaria led the workshop on apple cider vinegar making for us on Saturday 24th May. We hired the Town Hall kitchen in Maryborough and about 12 interested people attended. Costa has studied viticulture and has an extensive knowledge about making wine and vinegar. He has been making vinegar for the past 3 years in Dunolly and sells his products commercially. Costa described the process he follows for making cider and vinegar from apples. DSC06672paint

 His tips for cider vinegar making include:

“Make good wine, then turn it into vinegar and you will have a good vinegar!”

 Step 1-Selection of Fruit Start with fruit with good flavour. It is best to have a mix of apples so that you maximise the flavour from the variety that you have. Costa recommended using 10-20 percent wild or crab-apples, and that using supermarket apples was not ideal. Apples for supermarket are bred for crispness and storage ability rather than flavour.

Cut out any large, soft bruises and moth holes.


Costa shows us how to identify moth holes

Step 2-Juicing

When juicing, apples can be juiced whole. The core and stalk don’t need to be removed. Costa recommended scouring auction sites such as eBay for cheap juicers. It is less work to have a juicer that can juice the apples whole.

 After juicing the apples, Costa also returns the pulp to the juicer to extract as much flavour as possible.


 Step 3-Additives

Costa discussed the use of the following additives:

 1. Yeast nutrient. This provides nitrogen and can be purchased from brew shops. Use 0.2 grams per litre

2. Sulphur dioxide (220). Use this for cider only, not for vinegar

3. Malic acid


Step 4-Yeast

You can just leave your juice to its natural devices and allow the natural yeasts from the apple skin to ferment your cider; however you cannot be guaranteed of a quality product.

A yeast suitable for wine making or beer can be bought from a Home Brew Shop.  


Costa forms the already juiced pulp into mountains to feed back through the juicer

 Step 5-Fermentation

a.      Fill a container with your juice and yeast mix about 85% full

b.      Leave juice at 11°C for 5-10 days. The juice will froth and get fizzy. When the yeast drops to the bottom of the container, pour off the liquid into another container


  • If the yeast is not settling to the bottom, place the jar in the fridge overnight. The cold will assist with the yeast dropping to the bottom of the jar.
  • Dispose of the leftover yeast by feeding it to your chooks mixed with grains or by using it as a snail bait in the garden.

c.       This new container should just be covered with cheesecloth or a clean chux, secured with an elastic band. Now this mixture needs to be kept above 21°C for 1 month.

d.      Increase the temperature to above 25°C for the remaining 1-3 months. This fermentation time will depend on the quantity of your liquid. After a few weeks there will be a gelatinous white film floating on top of the liquid, this is the mother of vinegar, which is produced by the vinegar bacteria as it converts the alcohol into vinegar (acetic acid).

e.      This mother of vinegar can be used to make your next batch of vinegar. The mother can be scooped or filtered out and be stored in a jar, covered with vinegar, in a cool, dark place for a while until you are ready to make your next batch.


Mixing the juice together to ensure maximum flavour


Using the refractometer to assess the sugar content of the juice

Costa recommended continually tasting the vinegar throughout the process to identify changes in flavour from alcohol to vinegar as the fermentation proceeds. Costa’s products can be bought from HealthMania on Nolan Street in Maryborough.