Elderflower Wine

Ingredients

  • Elderflowers (not pressed down) 85g or 15g of dried flowers
  • 1 kg Brewing Sugar
  • 250l white grape concentrate
  • 5g citric acid
  • 5g grape tannin
  • Gervin No 3 Champagne yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient
  • Campden tablets
  • Water

What Elderflowers are best to use?

  • 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.
  • Try to remove every trace of leaf and stem, because the green causes' bitterness.

Day 1

  • Empty your flowers into a sterilised fermenting bucket.
  • Bring 2 litres of water to a boil and add this to your bucket.
  • Add one crushed Campden tablet.
  • Using a sterilised spoon mix the florets at least twice a day for two days. 

Day 3 

  • On the third day, dissolve the sugar in 1 litre of warm water and pour into a sterilised demijohn.
  • Strain off the flowers adding the liquid from the bucket to the demijohn.
  • Add the citric acid, grape tannin and yeast nutrient to the demijohn
  • Top up the demijohn with 1 litre of cold water you should now have approx 4 litres of liquid in your demijohn now.
  • Sprinkle on the yeast fit an airlock and bung and leave to ferment for 3 - 5 days at 18-22 °C.

Day 7 - 9

  • After the initial burst of fermentation activity add in the white grape concentrate.
  • Top up to the shoulder with cool water if necessary you should have approx 4.5 litres in the demijohn.
  • Allow a further 5 - 10 days or until the fermentation is complete. (When the airlock stops bubbling)

If you prefer a sweeter wine you should monitor the gravity reading during this stage of fermentation.
Once your hydrometer reading reaches 1004-1008 add a crushed Campden tablet - this will kill off the yeast and halt fermentation.
Alternatively, you could ferment it until dry (giving you more ABV) and then sweeten it using a non-fermenting artificial sweetener.

After Fermentation

  • Using a hydrometer you should have a gravity reading of 994-998 for two consecutive days.
  • Syphon into a sterilised demijohn, seal with an airlock and leave it in a cool place to clear before bottling.
  • It will naturally clear over time depending on the ambient temperature.
  • Once it is clear, you should syphon it off the sediment and transfer into your wine bottles.

If you are in a hurry you can speed up the clearing process by using wine finings.

Elderflower Champagne

Normal wine bottles are not strong enough to withstand the pressure, and so we recommend only using Champagne Bottles, Swing Top Grolsch Style Bottles or PET Bottles.

  • The most reliable way is to wait until the fermentation has diminished, and the hydrometer reading has dropped below 1.000
  • Preferably in the 994-998 range and stable for two consecutive days.
  • Make up a syrup solution of 20g of sugar in 60ml of warm water and then distribute it evenly amongst your bottles.
  • 60ml should be sufficient for 6 x 750ml bottles, 80ml of syrup if using 500ml bottles.
  • The finished champagne will be quite dry, so you will need to sweeten it to taste with a non fermenting sugar if you prefer.