Spirit Tree Estate Cidery was a name that took a long time in the making. We contemplated many options before finally deciding on this one!
We wanted to incorporate some of the history of cider into the name of our farm... We explored the historical art of wassailing which is the practice of singing to trees in apple orchards in cider producing regions of England to promote a good harvest for the coming year. The purpose is to awake the apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure the health of the trees in the hopes that they might better thrive.
The ceremony of each wassail varies but they all have the same core elements. The ceremony is typically held on January 6th or January 17th, which is the old Twelfth Night.
In a wassailing ceremony, a group of people would assemble in the orchard, where they would sing, shout and bang drums and pots and pans. Toast soaked in cider would be left in the branches as a gift to the tree spirits to show them the fruits of what they have created the previous year. The toast was also food for the robins who were seen as the guardian spirits of the apple trees.
The crowd would drink to the health of the trees and an incantation was usually recited such as:
"Apple tree, apple tree, we all come to wassail thee, Bear this year and next year to bloom and to blow, Hat fulls, cap fulls, three cornered sack fills, Hip, Hip, Hip, hurrah, Holler biys, holler hurrah."
The name Spirit Tree takes into account the ancient tradition of wassailing as well as being a play on the fact that cider is an alcoholic drink or 'spirit' from trees.