Elderberry wine is a hedgerow wines that closely resembles a good French Burgandy that you can make at home. Grab a pair of scissors, pop to the countryside and pick the elderberries off the trees, then back home to make wine.
This is dark red, dry, with a deep flavour, a slight sweetness and great mouth feel with a good hit of alcohol.
Best served with a meal, especially good with rich meat dishes, game, or a strong french cheese and crusty baguette.
Scroll to the bottom and watch our video of Davin showing you how to make Elderberry Wine.
2 carrier bags of Elderberries (including Stalks) which should give approx 5lb of berries.
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 Gallon (8 pints or 4.5 litres) Boiling Water
Red Wine Yeast
Equipment: (We have a fruit wine starter kit if needed for £25)
Demi-John with Air-Lock
Muslin or Straining Bag
Bottles & Corks & Corker
Pick the whole bunch
Take a crooked stick with you to help pull down higher branches
Do not use any other part of the Elder as it is poisonous.
We need to remove the berries from the stalks. Take a fork and put the prongs over the stalks and pull the fork towards the berries. The fork will pull off the berries and leave the stalk. Throw away the stalk.
Once you have forked all your elderberries, you need to weigh them as we want 5lb.
Put the elderberries in the preserving pan and bring to the boil.
Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes keeping an eye on it as it may boil over.
After 20 minutes turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
Prepare your fermenting bucket by stretching the muslin bag over the top. I find using clothes pegs every few inches around the top of the bucket holds the muslin in place and stops it dropping into the bucket - leave a little gap of a few pegs to allow you to pour in the elberberry infusion.
Carefully pour in the elderberry infusion, being careful not to splash it everywhere.
Once you have poured it all in, leave the elderberries in the muslin for a little while to allow any remaining liquid to drip into the bucket.
Now remove the muslin bag and elderberries and pour in the sugar and add the cloves and ginger.
Stir until all the sugar is dissolved.
Put the lid on the bucket and allow to cool.
Once it has reached 20°C add a crushed campden tablet and the Pectolase.
Cover and leave for 24 hours.
Take a hydrometer reading and save this for later.
Stir in the yeast and yeast nutrient.
Put the lid on loosely and transfer to somewhere warm (approx 20°C) for 10 days stirring daily.
Transfer the liquid into a demi-john to the top of the shoulder. Fit a bung and airlock (half filled with steriliser water) and transfer to a cool corner in the house, ideally between 16°C and 20°C to allow for the the fermentation to complete. This can take up to 4 weeks.
Once the fermentation has completed, rack the wine off the sediment into a clean, sterilised demi-john. Add 1 crushed Campden tablet and stir. Refit the airlock and leave to clear.
You may need to rack this wine a couple more times until it is completely clear.
This wine is a very dark red, that's full of flavour, the hedgerows best fruit to give similar results to that of a grape.
Once clear, take the final hydrometer reading. This will tell you the proof of your finished wine.
It is now ready to bottle. Siphon the wine off the sediment, add 1 crushed campden tablet (this will help with ageing the wine) and bottle.
Put the bottles somewhere cool and dark (but not damp) and ideally leave for 12 months for its full flavour potential to be reached. There are a lot of conditioning processes that this wine has to go through in the bottle to make it delicious. Time is the key with this wine.
Fantastic with dark meats such as beef or venison.