This 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Strain through a sieve into a fermenting bin whilst still hot and add the sugar and raisins. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
- 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.
- Ferment until finished.
- Rack, as necessary, and add 1 Campden tablet after the first racking to stop secondary fermentation.
- 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!