post

A Sip of Elderberry Wine

Few fruit wines can lay claim to being the title for a song or featured as a crucial item in a play and a movie. Elderberry wine can lay claim to both; Elton John sings about it, and it is the tool with which the Brewster sisters provide their victims with a deadly dose of arsenic. You would expect this wine to be as complex and as sophisticated as champagne. In reality, its taste and texture is somewhat similar to port, and it is one of the fruit wines that many produce in their own kitchens.

A Closer Look at the Elderberry

For centuries, the elderberry has been used for various purposes. Native Americans made use of every part of this plant, and it has been used as folk medicine for a variety of illnesses. In Winemaker Mag’s Taming the Wild Elderberry, Jack Keller says, Sometimes referred to as the “Englishman’s grape,” the common elderberry has been used to make wine for hundreds — possibly thousands — of years. By themselves, elderberries make a rich, flavorful wine, but they have long been added to other fruit and berry wines, including grape, to add color, tannin and complexity.

“Indeed, over the years, several “scandals” occurred when commercial wineries were discovered to have adulterated their grape wines by adding elderberry to improve their color. Home winemakers, of course, can use them for this purpose, if they so desire. Sometimes referred to as the “Englishman’s grape,” the common elderberry has been used to make wine for hundreds — possibly thousands — of years.

“By themselves, elderberries make a rich, flavorful wine, but they have long been added to other fruit and berry wines, including grape, to add color, tannin and complexity. Indeed, over the years, several “scandals” occurred when commercial wineries were discovered to have adulterated their grape wines by adding elderberry to improve their color. Home winemakers, of course, can use them for this purpose, if they so desire…”

Making Your Own Elderberry Wine

In Common Sense Home’s  How to Make Elderberry Wine, Laurie Neverman shares her experience with elderberry wine making and brings the words “from scratch” to a new level. She and her friends first foraged for the berries before they ever got to the brewing portion. She warns prospective wine makers, “Be careful to make sure you have a positive identification.  Elderberry is sometimes confused with water hemlock, inkberry, or pokeberry, but if you look closely, these plants are quite different.”

Neverman gives helpful advice on how to go about harvesting and cleaning elderberries before starting the wine-making process. Her recipe uses cane sugar and muscat raisins.

In And Here We Are’s Making Elderberry Wine, Ariana Mullins shares her own love of this fruit wine. She too started with berries foraged from bushes in the woods. She advises hobbyists to freeze the berries – twigs and all – so that a vigorous shake is all it will take to strip the berries off of their stems. Mullins not only provides links to the recipe she used, she also gives a blow-by-blow illustrated account of how she made her wine.

Here’s her verdict about the wine she made in her own kitchen: This wine turned out way better than my wildest expectations.  It was incredibly rich and smooth, with port-like character after one year.  I ended up making a much larger batch this year because we were so sad when we drank out last bottle from this batch! “That kind of endorsement is just what hobbyists need to plan their own hoard of elderberry wine.

Please like & share:

Speak Your Mind

*

© 2009 - Vinfo Pty Ltd. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our
Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions and Earnings Disclaimer.