Our Apple Day event is past, I have pressed most of the cider I am going to press this year, and I am finding a little time to slowly rebuild the http://www.fruitwise.net/ web site. The new Yahoo web builder is reasonably easy to use. I am concentrating on putting back up most of the old informative content with little editing, not least to help folks who are thinking about planting trees this coming planting season. I have just put up sections on varieties, pest and diseases, and brief notes on grafting. These, and my notes on pruning, have been largely superceded by my YouTube http://www.youtube.com/stephenhayesuk videos, which have now received over 420,000 views. Its now of course much easier to blend all these elements all but seamlessly. I'll work on it, and also add as many related links as I can.
As I have said before, I share from the heart and mind but I'm still only an enthusiastic amateur and my word isn't Gospel-check out what I've written, and check out whatever else you can find before deciding what to plant.
If you are after planting West Country style cider apples, and a lot of people are this year, Dabinett is the 'nobody got fired for buying' favourite, a regular cropper and compact tree which has a fairly strong bitter sweet juice, as does its cousin Harry Master's Jersey, and these 2 must be the first choices for the beginner who wants to make some 'proper zider'. I advise beginenrs to avoid the famously delectable but very fickle growing cider apple Kingston Black, for the same reason I would avoid Cox's Orange Pippin as a dessert apple-great quality, but very difficult to grow and crop reliably. But do consider other apples such as the lovely Yarlington Mill. It doesn't crop every single year, but see the picture of the back of my mate Jez's car taken in the orchard yesterday (he ran out of boxes!). That is about half the crop from ONE TREE. Admittedly a 20 year old big spreading tree, and it didn't crop at all last year, but WHAT A GENEROUS TREE! Great medium bittersweet cider variety which will enhance any cider.