top of page


The ancestral method, also known as méthode ancestrale or pétillant-naturel (pét-nat), is a traditional and natural method of producing sparkling wine, including cider. It is a more rustic and less interventionist approach compared to other methods like the traditional method or Charmat method. Here are some key points about the ancestral method:


  • Primary Fermentation: The process starts with the primary fermentation of the base cider. The apple juice is fermented with indigenous yeasts, naturally present on the apples or in the cider cellar. The fermentation begins in a tank or barrel, allowing the natural sugars in the juice to convert into alcohol.


  • Bottling: Before the primary fermentation is complete, the partially fermented cider is bottled, often in crown-capped bottles. The fermentation continues inside the bottle, and carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fermentation, is trapped, creating natural bubbles.


  • No Added Sugar or Yeast: Unlike other sparkling wine production methods, the ancestral method does not involve the addition of sugar or yeast to induce the secondary fermentation. The remaining sugars in the cider provide the necessary fermentation fuel for the carbonation.


  • Sediment: As fermentation continues in the bottle, sediment, consisting of spent yeast cells and other solids, settles at the bottom. This sediment gives the cider a characteristic cloudy appearance. Some producers choose to disgorge the sediment before selling, while others prefer to leave it in the bottle, adding to the rustic and unfiltered nature of the cider.


  • Variability and Natural Expression: The ancestral method allows for more natural expression and variability in the resulting cider. The final product can have varying levels of effervescence, sweetness, and flavor profiles, as it relies on the inherent qualities of the apples, yeasts, and fermentation process.


  • Minimal Intervention: The ancestral method embraces minimal intervention and is often associated with artisanal and small-scale cider producers who prioritize the expression of terroir and natural flavors.


The ancestral method is valued for its simplicity and the unique character it imparts to the cider. It is an approach that celebrates the natural qualities of the apples and the fermentation process, resulting in sparkling ciders that showcase the true essence of the fruit and the cider-making region.

bottom of page