Elderflower Wine

  • 3 large heads of elderflower florets
  • 250g white grape concentrate
  • 1kg white sugar
  • 5g citric acid
  • 5g grape tann
  • Gervin No 3 Champagne yeast
  • 1 level teaspoon yeast nutrient
  • 1 vitamin B1 tablet
  • Campden tablets
  • Water to 1 gallon

Check before you pick the flowers that they are a variety suitable for winemaking, as some have a very unpleasant smell! They should be light and fragrantly scented, not ‘catty’. Pinch a floret between your fingers and check the nose; this is the nose that the finished wine will have. Always pick when the sun is out, and the flowers are dry and fully open.

Strip the florets from the stalks and place them in a bucket. Add 4 pints (2.25 litres) of boiling water and leave covered for two days, stirring at least twice daily.

On the third day, dissolve the sugar in 2 pints of warm water and pour into a sterilised demijohn. Then strain off the flowers adding the liquid to the demijohn along with the white grape concentrate, tannin, citric acid, nutrient and B1 tablet. Top up the demijohn to the shoulder with cold water, and add the yeast. Fit an airlock and bung and leave the wine at the correct temperature, 19-21°C, until the fermentation is complete.

Syphon the wine off the sediment into a clean demijohn, top up to the shoulder with cool water if necessary, add a campden tablet and leave to mature in a cool place. Rack at three-month intervals and add a further campden tablet if the wine has thrown a deposit.

This wine is drinkable in 9 months, but is better left for a year.

Do not be tempted to use a greater quantity of elderflowers in this recipe. Elderflowers are very easy to collect, but if you use too many you may find that the strong bouquet spoils the wine.