Traditional Elderberry Port Wine Recipe

Traditional Elderberry Port Wine RecipeThis traditional elderberry port wine recipe produces a deep, aromatic and rich wine similar to a port wine. It’s very simple and, in common with many old recipes, it measures the berries by volume rather than weight.

I’ve updated it slightly for better performance, using specialist yeast and nutrient and stopping fermentation for certain with a Campden tablet at the end rather than risking exploding bottles.

It takes at least a year to properly mature and develop the full flavour of the elderberry with subtle overtones from the raisins and brown sugar (if used).

Traditional Elderberry Port Wine Recipe

Ingredients for Traditional Elderberry Port Wine Recipe

  • 4 pints of elderberries (approx 2.3 litres)
  • 3¼ lbs sugar (white is fine but demerara unrefined adds more flavours)
  • ¼ lb raisins
  • 1 gallon of water
  • Burgundy Wine Yeast (or general wine yeast)
  • Yeast Nutrient

Method for Traditional Elderberry Port Wine Recipe

  1. Strip the elderberries from the stalks, a fork makes this an easier task. Wash well. If you immerse the berries in cold water for a few minutes, any hidden insects will float off.
  2. Place into a large pan and crush. A traditional potato masher is ideal for this. Add the water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
  3. Strain through a sieve into a fermenting bin whilst still hot and add the sugar and raisins. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Once cooled to around 20°C or below add the wine yeast and nutrient. Leave to ferment for three weeks prior to straining into a demijohn with an airlock.
  5. Ferment until finished.
  6. Rack, as necessary, and add 1 Campden tablet after the first racking to stop secondary fermentation.
  7. Syphon into bottles

Produces slightly under a gallon after racking. Do not top up with boiled water as it dilutes the richness. Better 5 bottles of brilliant wine than 6 mediocre!

Posted in Country Wines
10 comments on “Traditional Elderberry Port Wine Recipe
  1. Darren says:

    Just out of curiosity….how do you think the elderberry port recipe would turn out if you did use white sugar but also add a few tablespoons of honey ?? Anyway my brew of elderberries are on the stove as we speak…..I started off some Elderberry Wine yesterday and that’s fizing away beautifully….I’m just about to strain off the simmering elderberries and add all the other ingredients….and perhaps the honey too ??

    • John Harrison says:

      Fine, Darren. The honey sounds good.

      That’s the joy of making your own – little variations: some better, some worse, some just different but never boring

  2. John Beal says:

    I’ve just started two batches of Elderberry port, as per recipe. My starting gravity is of the scale of my hydrometer, but looks to be around 22 to 24 %ABV at start. I have used Gervin GV4 yeast. I am concerned that it will only ferment to a lower ABV and leave the must sweet (High Alcohol killing the yeast ?) I appreciate that GV4 is a high tolerance, but maybe 24% ABV is a bit much. Wondering, should I dilute the two batched to obtain a lower start gravity , or am I worrying about nothing? Cheers.

  3. have tried it before but lost my recipe it used white sugar lemon juice plus one table spoon of fresh orange juice no more needs two preferably 3 years to mature but boy the taste 1 kilo elderberries peel from two lemons plus juice plus juice of 1 orange 1.5 gallons water or if you want to have more double or treble the elderberries water, double the orange juice but not the lemon juice or peel double but never treble the sugar for 1.5 gall or six to double after that add sugar syrup for larger amounts in small increments the longer you leave it the better it gets on my last 5 bottles now these are 15 years old mmmmmmmmmmmmm hic .

    • Mari says:

      Hi. I don’t understand what you mean about the sugar. I’m only making 1 gallon with this recipe but I’ve just started some blackberry wine. Recipe for 1 gallon says 350g sugar. How much would you recommend for 5 gallons? I would’ve just put in 5x the amount 😬

      • John Harrison says:

        recipe above does not say 350g. Read it again.

        • Mari says:

          Sorry for the confusion. I’m making your elderberry wine to the letter. But I’m also making 25l of blackberry wine and that recipe says 350g sugar for 5l. I’m just not sure how much sugar to add if I’m making bigger batches. I would’ve gone for 5x the amount if making 25 litres instead of 5. Is that not correct?

  4. tom says:

    could i use blackberries instead of elderberries for your port recipes .

  5. Justaguy says:

    What are you using to fortifiy the wine to make it into a port?

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