Sweet memories

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany—Parents and children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group recently visited the local Sailer-Cipolla winery in Osann-Monzel to help collect apples and learn how to make apple cider. On a previous trip, the group learned how to pick grapes and saw how grape juice is made. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany—Parents and children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group recently visited the local Sailer-Cipolla winery in Osann-Monzel to help collect apples and learn how to make apple cider. On a previous trip, the group learned how to pick grapes and saw how grape juice is made. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany—A small girl puts apples into a bucket one by one to help make apple cider juice. About 20 children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group took part in a recent field trip to the Sailer-Cipolla winery in Osann-Monzel.  The children enjoyed tasting the sweet juice afterward. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany—A small girl puts apples into a bucket one by one to help make apple cider juice. About 20 children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group took part in a recent field trip to the Sailer-Cipolla winery in Osann-Monzel. The children enjoyed tasting the sweet juice afterward. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany-- About 20 children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group visited a winery in Osann-Monzel to see how apple cider is made. According to homeschooling mother Sheri Leseberg, left, the group regularly conducts field trips, such as the visit to the butterfly gardens in Grevenmacher and a visit to the Luxembourg Caves. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany-- About 20 children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group visited a winery in Osann-Monzel to see how apple cider is made. According to homeschooling mother Sheri Leseberg, left, the group regularly conducts field trips, such as the visit to the butterfly gardens in Grevenmacher and a visit to the Luxembourg Caves. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany—The vintner, Vito Cipolla, holds up a hand-full of fresh apples in front of Kaylynn Burtcher, one of the 20 homeschooling children who recently attended a field trip to Osann- Monzel . (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany—The vintner, Vito Cipolla, holds up a hand-full of fresh apples in front of Kaylynn Burtcher, one of the 20 homeschooling children who recently attended a field trip to Osann- Monzel . (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany--The vintner, Vito Cipolla, uses a large hose to transfer apple mash from a trailer into a press. The kids helped with the cider process – they shoveled all the apples and put them in buckets. The apples went into a mill and afterward into the press,” he said. The outcome was a sweet and delicious apple cider which the children and their parents were able to taste afterwards, said the vintner. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany--The vintner, Vito Cipolla, uses a large hose to transfer apple mash from a trailer into a press. The kids helped with the cider process – they shoveled all the apples and put them in buckets. The apples went into a mill and afterward into the press,” he said. The outcome was a sweet and delicious apple cider which the children and their parents were able to taste afterwards, said the vintner. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany--Children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group observe how apple cider is made with a huge press. The local vintner from Osann-Monzel, Vito Cipolla, explained that this year has been an exceptional year for the juice, but the apples were in short supply. According to the vintner, for anything with a pit such as peaches pears, cherries and plums, it was fantastic this year (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany--Children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group observe how apple cider is made with a huge press. The local vintner from Osann-Monzel, Vito Cipolla, explained that this year has been an exceptional year for the juice, but the apples were in short supply. According to the vintner, for anything with a pit such as peaches pears, cherries and plums, it was fantastic this year (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany--Children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group observe how the vintner, Matthias Sailer rinses out the apple trailer with juice and a steam hose. Together with their parents, children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group recently visited the local Sailer-Cipolla winery in Osann-Monzel, helped vintners collect apples and learned how to make apple cider. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany--Children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group observe how the vintner, Matthias Sailer rinses out the apple trailer with juice and a steam hose. Together with their parents, children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group recently visited the local Sailer-Cipolla winery in Osann-Monzel, helped vintners collect apples and learned how to make apple cider. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany--Among the highlights of the visit was a 20-minute tractor ride through the fruit gardens, enjoying scenes of apple trees and a group of geese and chicken. This was the second time the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group visited the vintner, Vito Cipolla. “They hope to be back soon again,” they agreed. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

OSANN-MONZEL, Germany--Among the highlights of the visit was a 20-minute tractor ride through the fruit gardens, enjoying scenes of apple trees and a group of geese and chicken. This was the second time the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group visited the vintner, Vito Cipolla. “They hope to be back soon again,” they agreed. (U.S. Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Parents and children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group recently conducted a field trip to a local Mosel winery in Osann-Monzel where they helped the vintner and learned how to make apple cider.

About 20 children from the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group attended the trip to the Sailer-Cipolla winery, helped collect apples and learned how to make apple juice. On a previous trip to the winery, the group learned how to pick grapes and how grape juice is made.

When the children first arrived, they could find hundreds of apples - green and red - piled up in front of them. The youngest child visiting was four months old and the oldest was 18. With a little help from their parents, some children collected the apples one by one into buckets that were handed to the vintner on the back of a trailer.

The vintner then poured the apples into a wooden mill, or masher, that grinds the fruit before it goes into a press.

Tristan Burtcher, a homeschooling child, enjoyed helping the vintner and learning the different steps of making apple cider.

"It's a long process to do all the apples," Tristan said, as he moved the apple mash evenly onto the bottom of the trailer with a pitchfork.

He and his school -mates were able to watch vintner Cipolla transfer the mash with a large hose from the trailer into the press that crushed all the juice out of it. Finally the vintner determined the amount of sugar in the juice, which is measured in "Oechsle," and he seemed content.

"Today we made about one ton of apples, which makes about 450 liters of apple cider" Cipolla explained. "The kids shoveled them all and put them into buckets."

The vintner explained that this year has been an exceptional year for juice, but there weren't that many apples. "Anything that has a pit in the middle, such as peaches, pears, cherries and plums was fantastic this year," he said.

"It is educational for the children to see the different steps of making apple cider," the vintner said.

"I learned lots of stuff today," Kaylynn Burtcher, said. "I learned how the apples turn brown because of oxidizing."

The children and their parents tasted the apple cider they helped produce during the visit.

"Apples are my second favorite fruit and the cider tastes very delicious and natural," Kaylynn expressed.

Brother Tristan was also happy with the final product he helped make. "The apple cider is very, very good," he said proudly.

From the juice that is not used, vintners typically make apple wine that is locally known as "Viez". The sweet apple cider is stored in giant barrels in a wine cellar until it ferments, according to the vintner. "Viez" is a traditional alcoholic beverage, predominantly consumed in the Mosel and Eifel areas, he said.

"If we take the mash that is left over and we let it ferment again, it becomes Schnaps" vintner Cipolla explained.

The Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group field trip ended with a 20-minute tractor ride through the vintner's fruit gardens, passing by apple trees and free-running geese and chicken. The children expressed the fun they had with their friends and families at the winery.

According to Sheri Leseberg, homeschooling mother of four children, the trip to the local winery has been a great experience and a good opportunity for the homeschooling children to get out and see something new.

"The Spangdahlem Homeschooling group regularly conducts field trips, such as a visit to the butterfly gardens in Grevenmacher and a visit to the Luxembourg Caves," she said.

Groups, like the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group, are always welcome at the Sailer-Cipolla winery.

"For me it is always fun when the children visit us at the winery and if I can teach them interesting things about my job as a vintner," Cipolla expressed with a smile. "Visitors, like the Spangdahlem Homeschooling Group children, are always welcome." he said.

The experience of helping a local vintner with his duties and tasting the sweet and fresh apple cider they helped make will possibly remain a sweet and lasting memory for many of the children who came.