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Perry is an alcoholic beverage made of fermented pear juice using a similar process as that for apple cider. Perry pear varieties come from France and England and often contain higher tannins and acids than dessert pear varieties. In Britain, perry is limited to no more than 25% apple juice, however pear cider may be a blend of apple and pear juice. Sparkling perry is sometimes known as champagne perry and has excellent flavor and quality.

History of Pears and Perry

Palladius, in the 4th century, wrote that the Romans preferred wine made from pears to that from apples. He also gave instructions on how to make perry In medieval times, France was known for producing the best pears, and many varieties were brought to England after the Norman Conquest in 1066. However, wild or hedge pears continued to be grown in rural areas, and these pears were often used for making perry. Gradually regional farmers identified pears that were best in their areas for perry making, and in the late 1800s, enthusiastic researchers identified and described specific varieties, most of which are still known and used today. The Herefordshire Pomona published from 1876-1885 includes a chapter on the establishment of cider and perry factories by the Rev. Charles Bulmer: his son, H.P. Bulmer, founded the famous English cider making firm in 1887. Development and selection of improved varieties has continued to the present day, conducted by both private and state sponsored research programs.

Perry pear research at WSU Mount Vernon NWREC

In 2004, 15 perry pear varieties were sourced from the National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, OR, and were planted on Quince C rootstock with an interstem graft, to keep trees small in size. We have evaluated full bloom date, and our report is here: Perry pears grown at WSU Mount Vernon NWREC (PDF).

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