When Sylvester Neigel, our grandfather, returned from World War II, he planted a small hobby orchard. Syl was an inspiration to all of us and was always willing to help. After his passing we took over care of the small crop of trees. We soon found ourselves too small to supply the bigger local packing sheds. Instead of selling small to small farms, we figured we would enjoy drinking the spoils of our harvest.
In the years before our spoils were available for everyone, we started our pressing on an old 1902 cider press as a hobby. The press was purchased second hand. When purchased, the previous owner told us we could make good "adult" cider by leaving some fresh cider in gallon jugs under the stairs till they were the size of basketballs. We were horrified. We may have saved someone from going blind by taking it off their hands.
Neigel Vintners is a family affair. Our cider company is run on our family property. Some of the first pears we press each year come off of remnants of the first pears planted by the family. Over 100 years old, these trees have had their heart-wood rot out and survived. There are several places a person can reach through the center of the tree with a hand. These trees have been a staple of the property for generations.