Traditional Elderberry Wine

  • 2 lb elderberries
  • 1 lb sloes, bullaces or blackcurrants
  • 1/2 lb dried currants
  • 1 lb sultanas
  • 1 1/2 lb sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nutrient
  • 1 vitamin B1 tablet
  • 1 teaspoons pectolase
  • Burgundy or bordeaux-type yeast
  • Campden tablets
  • Water to 1 gallon

Strip the elderberries from the stems and wash them, removing any green ones that float to the surface. Crush the berries with the sloes, add the washed, minced dried currants and sultanas and place in a plastic bucket with 5 pints of cold water, 1 crushed campden tablet, the pectolase, yeast nutrient and vitamin B1 tablet. Stir well and leave for 24 hours before adding an active yeast starter. Ferment on the pulp for 3 days, keeping the fruit submerged with a plate and the bucket covered. Strain and pour into a demijohn with the dissolved sugar.( The demijohn should not be more than 7/8ths full to minimise waste from excess frothing. ) Fit an airlock and stand the demijohn in a warm place. Top the jar up after a few days with any surplus must or a little cold water. When the fermentation ceases ( usually 2-3 weeks ) syphon the clearing wine from the sediment into a clean demijohn and move to a cool place. After 1 or 2 days rack again, adding 2 campden tablets and topping up with a little cold water. After 2 weeks rack again, adding 1 more campden tablet. Replace the airlock with a cork bung. Rack again when a heavy deposit forms. If care is taken there should not be any need to add further sulphite for dry table wines but if in doubt another campden tablet may be added.

NOTE If you like there to be a little residual sugar in the wine, you should rack it when the S.G. drops to 1.000. Remove to a cool place or refrigerate for 24 hours before racking and adding the campden tablet. To safeguard this medium dry wine an extra campden tablet should be added during the maturing period.

Mature in bulk for 18 months.