The Cider Press serves the entire hamlet. Families in the village used this cider house to make their cider, but they were obliged to pay a tax or “banalitie”. Everything is planned so that access to each building is possible from the storeroom.
The main path outside of the cider house was constructed so that it was not necessary to walk through the courtyard of the castle. The Cider House of Bonnemare is complete; it is composed of a large attic for sorting and ripening apples and can be accessed by a staircase outside of the building (see photo)
A trap door allows the apples to fall to the center of the grinder.
• There is a large circular oak-wood trough with a large wheel that was operated by a horse.
• A special stretcher assists the machine. It is a press “à levier grand point” or “à longue étreinte”, with two enormous beams: the lever and the lower shaft. This ensemble is made of oak with the exception of the screws, which are made of elm, and the nuts, which are walnut.
The crushed apples are deposited in a squeezer base, a wide square platter with a faisselle. The apples are then laid in a pyramid shape by alternating the bed of apples with a bed of straw. The straw preserves the apples, and acts as a drain. When this formation reaches the high beam, a large tray is positioned underneath.
A thick screw at the end of a wedge on the structure allows the beam to rise and fall in alternating movements.
The residue is cut up with a tranche-marc and comes out of an opening in the wall behind the machine. The remains are then given to the animals.
The juice gathered at the exit of the squeezer base is transported and deposited in a barrel. These barrels weigh about 4,000 tons and can be found in the cellar.
Each family had its own barrel and could come to the cider press as they pleased. The owner had his own storage space beneath the courtyard.
Cider, the traditional drink of Normandy
The usage of cider in Haute Normandy dates back to the middle of the 15th century. Before this time period, the Normands drank beer that was brewed on site. At Bonnemare the family Leconte de Dracqueville accomplished the first apple press in approximately 1570. The Cider House was completed a century later by Edmond de Fieux who expanded the cellar and installed a particularly impressive second press that can be seen here.
Pressoir à levier "Grand Point"
Longueur du levier : 8 m.
Section du levier : 80 x 70 cm
Maie de 10,5 m²
Manœuvre avec la vis :
1°) Soulever le levier pour dégager l'aiguille des fausses jumelles
2°) Abaisser le levier qui basculera en prenant appui sur le marc, et dégagera l'aiguille des jumelles qui soutenait le levier.
3°) Soulever de nouveau le levier pour placer une aiguille de jumelles au-dessus du levier.
4°) Abaisser le levier qui, buté par l'aiguille des jumelles (3°) pressera sur le marc.