Our second batch of wine was elderberry raspberry. Nigel Deacon recommends adding raspberries to elderberry wine for an improved bouquet (hoity-toity as that may sound).
The wine has now been fermented and bottled, and happy days, tastes great! In fact, we’ve gone through four of the six bottles already (we’re keeping the other two for awhile to see how the wine matures).
My FIL (who used to be into homebrew) was very impressed, said it was difficult to distinguish from grape wine.
The elderberries were in the freezer from last year (or was it the year before?). Elderberry trees are quite common here, but sadly we didn’t pick a lot of elderberries this year. Knowing how excellent this wine is means we will be sure to pick a lot next year!
When we made this wine, there were not quite enough elderberries to make up the required 1.6kg (3-1/2 pounds), hence the addition of a few blackberries and sloes.
The procedure is the same as for Blackberry pineapple wine. Instead of pineapple juice, we used 100% blackcurrant juice blend by Ribena (this is a new product, not the same as regular Ribena, which has sugar in it). And OMG in looking up that link I’ve just discovered that Ribena is owned by GlaxoSmithKline, well that is the last time I am buying that! Red or purple grape juice would also have a complementary flavour. We used Gervin wine yeast no. 2.
Elderberry raspberry wine
|(or use 1550g/3 lbs + 7 oz elderberries)
|2 UK pints
|100% juice (blackcurrant or grape)
|organic granulated sugar
|1 UK pint
|filtered water, for dissolving sugar
1. It’s best to start with frozen berries. Freezing the berries sterilises them without having to use chemicals or boiling water. (The former of which is undesireable for obvious reasons, the latter because it makes the wine more difficult to clear.) Put frozen berries into a muslin hop bag, then into the fermentation bin, and add two pints (38 ounces) of filtered water and the juice. Cover and let stand 24 hours, or until the fruit is thawed and the whole mixture has come up to room temperature.
2. Dissolve sugar in one pint (19 ounces) water over low heat. Let cool to room temperature, then add to the bin.
3. Start yeast. Sprinkle yeast over 50ml (2 ounces) of warm water to which 1/2 teaspoon sugar had been added, then leave to stand for 20 minutes. After this time it should be foamed up. Stir and add to the bin, then stir again. Cover.
4. Put bin in a warm spot (around 20C/70F), or if you’ll putting it in a cooler location, use a heating strap around the bin.
5. Every day or every couple of days, stir the mixture in the bin, mashing the hop bag to help break the fruit up.
6. After a week or so, the wine will be ready for transfer to a demijohn. After giving your hands a really good scrub, squeeze the hop bag to remove as much juice as possible. (We compost the pulp.) Then pour the wine into a sterilised one-gallon demijohn. Don’t forget to also sterilise any equipment that will be used in the process, such as the funnel and bung/airlock. For sterilising, we use a chlorine-based agent for the demijohn, and boiling water for anything else. Although you can get plastic demijohns, we always use glass, being wary of plastic for a variety of reasons. Glass demijohns are available from homebrew shops, Wilkinsons stores, charity shops, eBay, etc. Fit a bung and airlock. Put the wine back into a nice warm spot (or cooler spot, with heating strap).
7. The wine will continue to ferment, and the sediment will start to settle to the bottom. A week or two later, syphon the wine into a second sterilised demijohn and then let it stand again. When the wine has cleared and fermentation has finished, it is ready to transfer to bottles (which also need to be sterilised). You’ll know fermentation has finished when there are no longer any tiny bubbles forming at the top of the wine, and no more bubbles going through the airlock.
How long you let the wine mature is up to you. Some sources say the wine is ready for drinking when you transfer to the bottles, other sources say to let the wine mature for some months or even years. We drank some bottles very young and plan to leave others to mature.
As for the cost, one gallon (six bottles) of this wine cost about £2.80 ($4.20), which works out to less than 50p (70 cents) per bottle. That’s about 1/6 the cost of the cheapest supermarket wine.