Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Chiefs look for cider-loving indians

Why buy imported, some Shepparton fruit growers asked themselves.

December 24, 2013 4:00am

Shepparton friends Safet Kutrolli, Brian Ahmet, Lilli Ahmet, Fellenze Kutrolli, Dianne Trigila and Carl Trigila are making apple and pear cider from Goulburn Valley fruit.

A group of friends from Shepparton were drinking imported cider one night when they realised they were consuming something they could create from their own orchards.

Long hours, heated discussions and a passion for local produce has resulted in a new pear and apple cider with the perfect name for the fiery friendships that created it — Too Many Chiefs.

The cider is made from 100 per cent Goulburn Valley fruit and Safet and Fellenze Kutrolli, Brian and Lilli Ahmet and Carl and Dianne Trigila bottled their first batch last week.

The cider has become a silver lining to SPC Ardmona cancelling contracts in the Goulburn Valley and Mr Kutrolli, a third generation orchardist who recently pulled out 6.4ha of trees planted in 1918, said it’s the result of much hard work and research.

‘‘We live in Shepparton and we were drinking pear and apple cider that came from overseas,’’ he said.

‘‘We hope people will support local and support Australia — there’s a lot going on in our country at the moment so we really want people to look at buying local.

‘‘At the time, I felt a bit let down from a personal point of view when SPC cancelled our contracts ... but you come to understand where they’re coming from.

‘‘Making cider was something I thought about for a while, looking at how to use something that’s basically a waste product.’’

The process has included buying new equipment, refining recipes, thousands of hours of research and arguments and a lot of taste-testing — all of it done between full-time jobs and raising families.

‘‘We went the long way around so we could learn the ins-and-outs,’’ Mr Trigila said.

‘‘There’s no cider expertise in Shepparton — it’s a fairly new product to the Australian market and to our area.

‘‘Ours is 100 per cent juice — no concentrate — and 100 per cent Goulburn Valley. We wanted it to be as natural as possible.

‘‘I used to be a beer drinker but I’ve turned into a cider drinker now. It’s a refreshing drink and it doesn’t leave you bloated.’’

Too Many Chiefs will be stocked at Phillips Cellars, Noble Monks, Teller Collective, Fryers St Food Store, Bicaro’s, the Overlander Hotel, Cellar 47, Thai Coconut, Hotel Australia, Bullion Bar, Lemon Tree Cafe, Friars Cafe, Bohjass and Stefanos 276.

For more information, phone Safet Kutrolli on 0402232352 or go to

Chloe Warburton

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