International cider competition

Who can enter the competition?

Cider producers from all over the world. The aim of this International Cider Competition is to honour the best European and world products through highly-professional ratings. The championship will be held on 23th November at Kursaal Congress Center’s facilities in Donostia-San Sebastian (see location in Google Maps). 12th of November is the last day to participate.

What are the competition categories?

  1. Natural Basque Cider / Take part
  2. Natural Asturias Cider / Take part
  3. Traditional French Cider / Take part
  4. Traditional English Cider / Take part
  5. Modern Cider / Take part
  6. Premium Carbonated Cider / Take part
  7. Apflewine / Take part
  8. Flavoured Cider and Perry / Take part
  9. Ice Cider / Take part


Traditional French Cider


  • This includes styles from Normandy and Brittany and other ciders inspired by those styles, including ciders made by various techniques to achieve the French flavor profile.
  • These ciders are made with bittersweet and bittersharp apple varieties cultivated specifically for cider making. ABV: 2-5%.

Fruity character/aroma. This may come from slow or arrested fermentation (in the French technique of défécation) or approximated by back-sweetening with juice. Tends to a rich fullness. MLF notes of spicy-smoky, phenolic, and farmyard are common but not required and must not be pronounced. The French expect more subtle MLF character than do the English.

Clear to brilliant, medium yellow to amber color.

Typically made sweet to balance the tannin levels from the traditional apple varieties.
Medium to sweet, full-bodied, rich. Medium to full mouth-filling. Moderate tannin, perceived mainly as astringency. Carbonation moderate to champagne-like, but at higher levels it must not gush or foam.

Take part

Traditional English Cider
  • This includes the English “West Country” ciders and other ciders inspired by that style.
  • These ciders are made with bittersweet and bittersharp apple varieties cultivated specifically for cider making.
  • English ciders are traditionally fermented and aged in wood barrels, which adds some character; however, the barrels used are rarely new, so there is no overt wood character. ABV: 5-8%.

No overt apple character, but various flavors and esters that suggest apples, particularly tannic varieties. English-style ciders commonly go through malolactic fermentation (MLF) which produces desirable spicy/smoky, phenolic, and farmyard/old-horse characters. These flavor notes are positive but not required. If present, they must not dominate; in particular, the phenolic and farmyard notes should not be heavy. A strong farmyard character without spicy/smoky or phenolic suggests a Brettanomyces contamination, which is a fault. Mousiness is a serious fault.

Barely cloudy to brilliant. Medium yellow to amber color.

Full. Moderate to high tannin, perceived as astringency and some bitterness. Carbonation still to moderate. Bottle-fermented or bottle-conditioned ciders may have high carbonation, up to champagne levels, but not gushing or foaming.

Take part

Modern Cider
  • Are made primarily from culinary/table apples.
  • Compared to other standard styles, these ciders are generally lower in tannin and bit higher in acidity. ABV: 5 – 8%.

Sweet or low-alcohol ciders may have apple aroma and flavor. Dry ciders will be more wine-like with some esters. Sugar and acidity should combine to give a refreshing character. Acidity is medium to high, refreshing, but must not be harsh or biting. A refreshing drink. Sweet ciders must not be cloying. Dry ciders must not be too austere.
An ideal cider serves well as a “session” drink, and suitably accompanies a wide variety of food.

Brilliant, pale to yellow in color.

Medium body.

Take part

"Premium" Carbonated Cider


  • Made according to the traditional method, consisting of a second fermentation in the bottle or tank (Charmat).
  • This ciders are made technical and conceptually close to Champagne, Sekt or Cava in terms of wines.
  • ABV: Usually higher tan traditional cider 6%- 9%.

Clean aromas, frank, with predominance of apple. Flavour and aroma vary, but are derived of the apple varieties used. Phenolic, farmyard, acetone or sulphuric aromas are unacceptable in this style. It must be a good balance of acidity and low astringency.

Straw yellow to golden yellow colours. Clean and bright.

Fresh and light-medium body with pleasant acidity.

Take part




  • German Word for Cider. Mainly made from acid, semi-acid varieties.
  • Some of them really old varieties indicated exclusively for cider making. Unlike ciders made in Spain may not contect high VA (Volatil Acidity). ABV: 5% – 6%.

Aromas close to dry white wines. Green and crisp apples. Usually moderate citric acidity and low or non sweetness. Green apples with dry aftertaste.

Clear pale Straw. Can be clean and bright, also cloudy ciders are commun.

Fresh apple taste, crisp dry finish. No bitterness at all. Usually defined as a hybrid between a wine and a cider. Some with low carbonation.
Single-variety Apfelwein can be found, such as those made of “Boskoop”.

Take part

Flavoured Cider and Perry
  • Are ciders with other fruits, fruit juices, hops or spices added. Also Perry must be included in this Style.

The cider character must be present and must fit with the other fruits, hops or spices. Perry relatively full, low to moderate tannin apparent as astringency. In case of Perry must be a pear character, but not obviously fruity. It tends toward that of a young white wine. No bitterness. Generally quite pale.

Clear to brilliant. Color appropriate to added fruit, but should not show oxidation characteristics. Perry slightly cloudy to clear. Generally quite pale.

Substantial.Depending on fruit, hops or spices added. Perry relatively full, moderate to high tannin apparent as astringency.

Take part

Ice Cider
  • Juice is concentrated before fermentation, either by freezing the fruit before pressing it, or by freezing the juice and then removing water as it thaws.
  • The fermentation stops or is arrested before the cider reaches dryness.
  • No additives are permitted in this style; in particular, sweeteners may not be used to increase gravity. ABV: 7 – 13%.

Fruity, smooth, sweet-tart. Acidity must be enough to prevent it being cloying.

Full body. May be tannic (astringent and/or bitter) but this should be slight, to moderate at most.
Entry Instructions:
Entrants MUST specify starting gravity, final gravity or residual sugar, and alcohol level. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels).

Take part

Why participate in this Cider Competition?

  • This Cider Competition will be judged by an international committe or renowned cider tasters from USA, Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy.
  • The national comitte include wine sommelliers from renwoned spanish restaurants, BJCP judges, Wine and Beer journalists and bloggers from all around the country.
  • The standard of the competition is guaranteed by the team of experienced professionals in International Competitions.
  • Medals will be awarded according to points reached: – Bronce medal: 30-37 points – Silver medal: 38-44 points – Gold medal: 45-50 points
  • “Best of category” will received a “Chapela“ and “Best of Show“, will receive a prestigious trophy originals designed by the prestigious sculptor from Alkiza Koldobika Jauregi.
  • In the Awards catalogue will only be listed ciders with the minimum score, 30 points.

What can an award from the Cider Competition bring you?

  • Rising prestige and value of your products among Wine and Beer dealers in Spain.
  • The right to affix appropriate medal stickers to your bottles and the possibility to show the award reproduced in your promotional materials.
  • Award promotion among media partners.


  • Enter all required information in registration for the international cider competition.
  • To take part in the competition you must pay 40€ and additional 10€ for EACH PRODUCT registered.
  • The rates include:
    – Descriptive file of the assessment

    And for the awarded products:
    Badges for bottles
    – Golden, silver and bronze medals
    – Diploma
    – Best in Class prize (txapela)
    – Best of Show prize (trophy)
    – A mention in Sagardo Forum 2019 magazine
    – Delivery of the prizes obtained
    Please proceed with the payment by bank transfer or by credit card in registration for the international cider competition.
  • Final date for registration: 12th November 2019. We strongly encourage entrants to register early and ship early to ensure that weather-related delays or other unforeseen events don’t prevent their entries from being judged at this year’s competition.
  • Please send 3 samples of 75cl/50cl or 4 samples of 33cl to: Fraisoro Laboratorio Agroambiental Sagardo Forum Finca Fraisoro s/n 20159 Zizurkil Gipuzkoa – Spain
  • Medals will be awarded according to points reached:
    – Bronce Medal 30-37 points
    – Silver Medal 38-44 points
    – Gold Medal 45-50 points
  • For each Class, a “Best of Class“, will be awarded by a selected Tasting Committe.
  • Finally, between all “Best in Class“, a “Best of Show“ will be elected among the Tasting Commite.
  • The awards ceremony of the International Cider Competition will be held on November 25 at 10:30 in Kursaal Congress Center (see location on Google Maps),

Please contact us at with any questions or concerns.

We look forward to you being a part of Sagardo Forum International Competition this year!


– Ana Lopez (Fraisoro Laboratory of The Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa)
– Egoitz Zapiain (cider producer)
– Mikel Rodriguez (Xaiope Restaurant)
– Guillermo Castaños (Oenologist)
– Paco Calonge (Calonge cider house)
– Alaitz Garrastazu (Bereziartua cider house)
– Jaione Gaincerain (Zelaia cider house)
– Irati Amondarain (Oenologist)
– Fernando Vadillo (Oenologist)
– Paul Vander (President of the Association of Cider Producers of the United States)
– Gabe Cook (The Ciderologist)
– Andreas Sundgren (Brännland Cider AB)
– Mark Gleonec (CIDREF)
– Iñaki Santos (Investigator)
– Jon Torre (Petritegi cider house)
– Patrick Commane (Angry Orchard)

Group to select the best ciders of each cathegory and the “Best of show”:

– Agurtzane Andueza (Director of Fraisoro Laboratory of The Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa)
– Ruben Arranz (Sommelier of El Henar Restaurant)
– Santi Rivas (Colectivo Decantado. Represents Spain in the World Championship for blind tastings by teamsin 2019)
– Gabe Cook (The Ciderologist)
– Andreas Sundgren (Brännland Cider AB)


Technical team


Technica talks, International Cider Competition and Fair



See accommodation close to the 3nd Sagardo Forum



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