The great-grandfather, Jose Antonio, along with other types of farming, starts to make cider for personal use and friends on the ground floor of his farmhouse. This is where the wisdom and cider tradition of the Gaincerain family begins.
The grandfather Joaquin Gaincerain committed to cider production and created the first business card.
The father, Jose Antonio Gaincerain, began working in the 70s, but it was not until 82 that the company name was registered.
J.A. Gaincerain made a large investment in expanding the cidery with new wooden barrels and a Bigman, the first bottling machine.
This year is significant in the world of cider since a new bottle was designed, developed and patented ("sagardoa model") exclusively to differentiate the product. Until then, they were using different bottle models (from wine to champagne).
A new association called "Taldea" was created, made up of Zapiain, Mina, Borda and Zelaia with the aim of pursuing common objectives for apples and cider.
A few years after changing the bottle model, they started to label in the bottling process with the labeller.
At this time, they invested in an expansion to the cidery, specifically aimed at a dining hall and kitchen for the "txotx" season. They also bought two new hydraulic presses and bottling machinery.
They replaced the hydraulic presses with pneumatic presses and made a gradually restructuring of the cider-making machinery (drum, selecting table, masher, pumps, tanks, etc.)
Demolition of the initial cidery building (approximately 20% of the surface of the company building) to build a modern structure that housed the bottle washing plant and bottling machinery, office, restrooms and a small cidery with capacity for 60,000 litres.
Along with another cider house, we decided to invest in our own apple trees along with Valle de Baztan, Navarre, on a plantation of 7 hectares (4,359 apple trees) with native apple varieties like Urtebi Txiki, Urtebi Haundi and Txalaka, among others.
13 historic cider houses dedicated to investing in quality and committed to implementing traceability and adhering to strict regulations for cideries, thus offering added value to a generic product, making a choice cider on a path of excellence.Select cider of the Basque Country
J.A.Gaincerain decided to take an important step in his life and pass on the torch of Zelaia to his three daughters, Oihana, Maialen and Jaione.
The secret in Zelaia production is the selection of the best varieties of apples from different traditionally producing regions, giving priority to native apples.
Since apples are the foundation of cider, we have to know the characteristics of each variety, so we can select the range based on the the wort we want to get out of it. There are different factors that affect the characteristics of the apples, with tree care, optimum ripeness, health status, type of picking and transport being the most important.
We make cider paying attention to every little detail at all times so that you can enjoy it.
When receiving apples, the physicochemical characteristics (variety, maturity and health status) are analysed to then begin washing them. They are washed through flotation, which in turn transports them to a rotary drum to remove impurities and remaining leaves. They receive a second rinse of water in the drum before reaching the manual selection table.
The selected apples reach the chute crushed by rollers, designed to avoid breaking the seeds, and from there, they go into the presses (low performance pneumatic presses that provide a high quality wort.
The wort obtained during pressing is introduced into settling tanks where it will remain for 12 to 24 hours. This natural sedimentation process with the wort is the only "filtering technique" that we use throughout the cider making process.
From there, the wort is poured into the "kupelas" or barrels (9,000 to 18,000 litres) where the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation takes place at controlled temperatures during a care period of 2-3 months. The right "blend" or mix of worts is the key to getting the best cider, so we rely on wisdom passed down through generations combined with new techniques and machinery.
After finishing/completing fermentation and coinciding with the start of the new year, we can start to enjoy the new ciders beginning in January. The cider, being a natural product, is constantly evolving.
Taking this into account, the bottling is done at the optimum time to preserve all its qualities.
We store the bottles at our facilities with a ventilation system to ensure proper temperature and humidity.
We recommend consuming cider within one year from the date of bottling, at a temperature between 10-12∫C, pouring at an average distance and always in a thin-walled glass to volatilise its aromatic precursors. We recommend serving a small amount to drink in one gulp, but you can do it as many times as you want!
Cider is a vibrant product in constant change that you must understand and care for so that it reaches its exultant splendour.