Elderberry Wine Recipe How to Make Elderberry Wine

Elderberry Wine RecipeThis elderberry wine recipe produces a true country wine. Rich and deep toned, reflecting the summer concentrated into the hedgerow fruit. It’s simple and easy to make, just follow the instructions and you can’t go wrong.

The recipe is easily adapted by altering the sugar content to make a dry, medium dry or medium sweet wine.

Elderberry Wine Recipe

Ingredients for Elderberry Wine Recipe:

  • 2½ lb elderberries
  • Campden tablets
  • 2½, 2¾ or 3 lb sugar (Use the lowest amount of sugar for a dry wine, next for a medium dry wine and the higher sugar for a medium sweet. )
  • Wine yeast
  • Yeast Nutrient
  • Water

Method for Elderberry Wine Recipe:

  1. Strip the elderberries from the stalks and wash well. If you immerse the berries in cold water for a few minutes, any hidden insects will float off.
  2. Put into a fermenting bin and crush. A traditional potato masher is ideal for this. Pour on 4 pints of water.
  3. Add 1 Campden tablet, crushed and dissolved in a little warm water to kill off any wild yeasts.
  4. Boil half of the sugar in 2 pints of water for 2 or 3 minutes and, when cool, mix into the pulp.
  5. Add the yeast and nutrient and cover and allow to ferment for 5 days, stirring daily.
  6. Strain and press and return the liquor to a clean fermenting bin.
  7. Boil the rest of the sugar in 1 pint of water for 2 or 3 minutes and, when cool, add to the liquor.
  8. Cover again and leave for 3 or 4 days.
  9. Pour carefully or syphon into a gallon jar, leaving as much deposit behind as possible.
  10. Fill up the jar with cooled, boiled water to where the neck begins.
  11. Fit a fermentation lock and leave until fermentation has finished.
  12. Rack, as necessary, and add 1 Campden tablet after the first racking to stop fermentation.
  13. Syphon into bottles.

This elderberry wine recipe produces 1 gallon of rich red wine that should be stored for at least six months after bottling before drinking.

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Posted in Country Wines
30 comments on “Elderberry Wine Recipe How to Make Elderberry Wine
  1. jag says:

    made this few years back – lovely and deep red .

  2. Steve Coles says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe

    Do you know if I really need to add Campden tablets
    Do you have any more recipes
    many thanks
    Steve Coles

    • John Harrison says:

      You could try making it without the Campden tablets but using them is safer. Looking at it, if you add the initial 4 pints of water boiling rather than cold, that should kill off any wild yeasts.
      The second tablet could be omitted but watch out for fermentation re-starting.
      Yes, there are more recipes to put online when I get chance.

    • chrisgg says:

      I used to add Campden tablets to kill off wild yeasts years ago but decided to experiment with using the natural wild yeasts. Almost all fruits have plenty of natural wild yeasts adhering to the skins. I found they work very well and I never need to buy wine yeast anymore…just allow the natural ones to do their work! They say the wild yeast can give an off flavour, but I’ve never noticed it.
      The wild yeasts are perfectly adapted to the fruits they settle on…why buy yeast when nature gives it free? It takes longer for them to begin to ferment…sometimes 4-5 days but they always start eventually. I use a lid with an airlock on my fermentation bin, so I don’t need to worry about air or flies getting to the juice.
      I also often leave the bin fermenting for up to a month before syphoning into air-locked demijohns, to extract maximum flavour from the skins. As regards Campden tablets(which contain sulphites), I don’t use them at all. I like my wine fermented out dry, so never need to add anything to the bottles of wine to kill yeasts.
      I do use sodium metabisulphite for sterilising equipment but always rinse out thoroughly. I’ve never had a problem with spoilt wine since using a lid with an airlock on the fermenting bin..highly recommended and available to buy in most homebrew shops!
      One thing I always do now is check the strength of my wine using a hydrometer before and after fermentation, using a special formula from the internet. I’d hate to buy or drink a wine without knowing the alcohol content.
      Alcohol% = [(OG minus FG) divided by 7.36] x 1000.
      So if OG (original gravity) = 1.080 and FG (Final Gravity) = 0.990(typical value), alcohol% = [1.080-0.990/7.36] x1000 = 0.09/7.36 x 1000 = 12.2%.
      That’s about the right strength for my taste.

  3. R Steggles says:

    Precise and infomative

  4. Terry Cooper says:

    If I add a Campden tablet at the initial stage to kill off any wild yeast, will it not then kill off the wine making yeast ?

  5. Donna says:

    I have a steamer/juicer that I just used to get the elderberry juice. It’s concentrated and I have a gallon or more. Would this work to make elderberry wine?

  6. alec davis says:

    This is a very quick way for removing the berries from the stems:
    Put the elderberries into a 5 gallon fermentation bin, just enough water to barely cover them and then whizz them up with a paint stirrer on an electric drill. The centrifugal force removes them from the stems in 30 seconds. Don’t go over this time as the stems will start to break up.
    Strain the berries through a coarse plastic garden sieve to remove the stems and you can process them in the usual way.

  7. Chris says:

    Hi John.

    This will be my first attempt at wine making. How long should I leave for fermentation and what does ‘racking’ mean in regards to point 12 of the instructions

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi Chris,
      Fermentation time is variable being affected by a number of factors. Basically simple though, when it stops bubbling and the airlock stops the glug glug noise. If in doubt, give it more time.
      Racking is just shorthand for syphoning the liquid out of the demijohn and leaving the ‘sludge’ behind. Sometimes you need to do this a couple of times – allow time for the solids to settle out each time.
      Hope that’s clear 🙂

  8. Vanessa says:

    Lovely simple recipe thanks – I will be trying this one this week 🙂

  9. Chelle says:

    Hi, what is the additional water at point 10 for please?

  10. johnsimon says:

    Hi There
    Just put my wine in demijohn for fermentation, but no bubbles have appeared yet.
    When adding the yeast I only used one sachet as amount was not specified in recipe was that enough?

    • John Harrison says:

      Yeast is living – in ideal conditions the number of cells doubles every 8 hours. It’s not like sugar or water with a fixed quantity.
      So, it’s usual to add a sachet but you could use one sachet to make 2 or 4 gallons.
      Possibly the wine is too cool, which will slow things down considerably – 20 to 24 degrees C is perfect.
      Too hot when you added the yeast – this will have killed it off.
      Old / duff pack of yeast.
      So, check temperature of the wine – if that’s not the problem try again with fresh yeast

  11. Carol says:

    Hi, I bought some winemaking equipment on eBay there were some yeast sachets included but I don’t know how old they are does it matter? Also what would be the alcohol content in this recipe and is there a way to make it strong?

    • John Harrison says:

      Yeast – could be good, could be dead – try one in some sugar water and see.

      Could be a strong wine – depends. If you want it really strong do what Grandad did and add some vodka at the end.

  12. Wyn Goggins says:

    This is my first effort at making this wine. It seems to have stopped fermenting after only a week. I thought it would be going for longer than that. Do you think it’s ok? Thank you.

  13. patrick says:

    Hi,This is my first try at using fresh elderberries, and managed to collect more than I thought. What changes would be required in the recipe for a five gallon batch?

  14. Steve Coles says:

    Hi John
    When making elderberry wine (or any fruit wine ) I always freeze them as I am led to believe hot water is not called for (a) is that true (b) as it’s frozen I did not add a Campden tablet at this stage. Will it be alright?
    ps My wine making lodge is cold but I wrap lots of warm blankets around to help with slip fermentation.

  15. Steve Coles says:

    Should have read help with slow fermentation

  16. I have quite a few frozen berries that I am ready to make wine with! Any special instructions. I look to make maybe 10 gallons and would hate to mess it up?
    Thanks for your time!

    • John Harrison says:

      Because of the freezing action damaging the cells you’ll find crushing should be easier. Might be a bit messier stripping stalks if you didn’t do it before freezing.

      10 gallons!! Can I come to the party?

  17. Mon says:

    Hi, I’ve made a small home batch. Just 1 1/2 litre. I haven’t added yeast, I just soaked in boiling water, crushed in smoothie maker, added boiling water and sugar, lightly boiled and went to buy yeast. Morrison didn’t have, only fresh baker’s yeast. Would this do? And how long to ferment this test batch (to share out) I thought it was 1 week to drinking! Lol

    • John Harrison says:

      Oh Mon, what are you like? Wine yeast – you eat bread, drink wine. Trust me, wine yeast.
      Test batch, full batch – 6 months to develop flavour at least

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