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How to make Elderberry Wine: Easy Elderberry Wine Recipe for Beginners and Pro

Elderberry wine, when crafted with precision, can rival traditional grape wines. Let’s delve into a comprehensive guide on creating this exquisite beverage.

Why Choose Elderberries for Making Wine?

Elderberries, akin to grapes, possess a harmonious balance of tannins, color, sugar, and acid, making them an ideal choice for winemaking. This wine can be reminiscent of red grape wines like Mourvedre and Petit Verdot, especially when aged and mellowed.

How Does Elderberry Wine Compare to Traditional Grape Wine?

Elderberry wine can be comparable to high-quality grape wines. The key lies in striking the right balance between acidity, alcohol, and tannin, similar to professional winemaking practices.

Which Elderberries Should You Use for Winemaking?

It is recommended to use the Western blue elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) or the Eastern blue elderberry (S. nigra). Avoid red elderberries for winemaking.

What is the Ideal Time to Pick Elderberries?

Elderberry season typically runs from July to early October. To ensure ripeness, look for clusters with no green berries and pink stems. Some clusters may even have a few dried elderberries, indicating peak ripeness.

How to Prepare Elderberries for Winemaking?

Picking and Cleaning

Collect whole clusters using shears and store them in paper bags. At home, strip the berries manually or freeze them briefly to ease the process.

Crushing Elderberries

Crush the elderberries using a potato masher, blender, or by hand in a clean bucket. Avoid crushing the seeds to prevent bitterness.

How to Adjust Sugar Levels in Elderberry Wine?

Sugaring Elderberry Wine

The sugar level, measured in Brix, should be between 20 and 28. If adjustment is needed, use the formula:

(Target BrixInitial Brix reading) × 0.125 × gallons of juice = pounds of sugar to add

Elderberry Wine Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make one of the most delicious red wines around!

If you liked this recipe, you should know that it also works with other fruit, like apples and blackberries. Note that this will make enough for 1 gallon or 4.5 liters of wine.

Step-By-Step Wine

1.) Bring your water to a boil, then add the sugar and stir to dissolve it. Take it off the heat.

2.) Place your elderberries in the straining bag, then in a sterilized primary fermentation bin.Using a potato masher, thoroughly crush them.

3.) Pour the boiling water over the crushed berries while stirring constantly. Add the yeast nutrient and acid blend once it has cooled.

Put in the Campden tablet, but make sure it’s properly ground up so it dissolves well. Stir thoroughly, then seal with an airlock.Allow another 12 hours.

4.) After 12 hours, add the pectic enzyme and stir thoroughly. Allow it to sit for 24 hours.

5.) After 24 hours, add the yeast to the fermentation bin without mixing it. Reassemble the airlock and wait.

6.) For the first week, mix the wine once a day.After 2 weeks, remove the straining bag and allow it to drain. Don’t squish it!

7.) Rack the wine into a demijohn 24 hours after straining. Take a specific gravity reading to determine the alcohol content.

8.) Allow it to sit for another 3-4 months before racking it again if any additional sediment or clouds appear.When the wine is clear, bottle it up!

What Role Does Pectin Play in Elderberry Wine?

Though elderberries are low in pectin, other fruits may require pectic enzyme to prevent the wine from jelling and to enhance flavor extraction.

How to Ensure a Clear and Refined Elderberry Wine?

Strain the wine through a fine-mesh sieve and cheesecloth to ensure clarity. This additional step can result in a cleaner, clearer wine.

Conclusion: Perfecting Your Elderberry Wine

Crafting elderberry wine involves time and technical precision but can result in a beverage that stands toe-to-toe with traditional grape wines. With attention to detail, you can produce a wine that is perfect for cold weather gatherings and can impress even the most discerning palate.