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65 responses to “How to Make Elderberry Wine”

  1. Sadie

    Hi Hank,
    found your website (thankfully) last year just in time for the elderberry harvest. Made 5 gallons successfully. The wine is robust and drinks like a BIG zinfandel. I think the oak chips make it amazing. Reading through the posts, I was happy to see the clarification on the boldness of the wine can be curbed slightly. I currently have 25# prepped and plan on trying to recreate last years wine and another slightly lighter version. One thing I noticed with this wine, was how cloudy it initially was compared to other wines. I try to steer away from petroleum based polymers in the clarification process and used Bentonite clay. It worked like a charm and I’m not picking up any off flavors from it. Do you use bentonite clay for clarification? Thanks again for the informative and entertaining site!

  2. James

    Do you wash your berries? I just cut about 20 pounds from my bushes out back and will need to freeze them before I can get to wine making. I’d love to just chuck them in the freezer, but there is a lot of debris I don’t want to get frozen with them.



  3. Sam

    Hi Hank!

    Following your procedure for elderberries from our property. We’re starting the first ferment, but wondering about one of the later steps. You say to test the wine for oakiness after 3 months. Do you mean 3 months from starting the 2nd ferment (so 2 months would have been the secondary ferment), or 3 months after racking and putting into the carboy with oak cubes (total 5 months from starting the secondary ferment)?

    Thanks for the detailed explanation of the process!

  4. SARAH

    Hello, I decided to follow your recipe as it is the best one I have found yet.
    It didn’t go to plan exactly as it needed more sugar than your recipe suggested but wild fruit is unpredictable. I have however made a stupid mistake and I’m worried.
    I have added tartaric acid to my 3 gallons plus of Elderberry wine mix but didn’t need to as I did the acid test wrong. It has far far too much acid now. Have I ruined it?

    I hope more sugar water will fix it.


  5. Allen Morris


    Hello, hope all is well. I agree with others posting here, your recipe was the most detailed I could fine on the internet. This is my first try at making wine and have been trying to follow your recipe to a T. I had cold soaked the berries for three days and had a nice dark must. Now on day two, my must has turned red, sort of the color of the inside of a red grapefruit. Do you think the must May have turned bad? Thanks in advance for your reply.


  6. Tricia Lefever

    Hi Hank,

    I have steam extracted the juice from my elderberries. Can I still make wine with the juice, rather than the whole berries? I thought I might add some tannin, since the skins won’t be fermented. Any thoughts?

  7. Ian Dowlman

    Hi Hank,
    Just finished collecting, stripping and freezing elderberries (in Nottinghamshire UK). I have usually made a country style wine adding bananas and black currants to the wine which ends up as a smooth but Chianti type wine. Having read your notes on the web site I’ll try this now on a 3 gallon batch and see what happens against my usual method.
    Good site, I enjoyed reading the comments.

  8. Josh Homer

    This is my first foray into winemaking and so far am having fun. Thanks for the great directions and recipe.

    You mentioned that if you have extra after topping off your carboy to go ahead and put in another closely sized container. What do you do with it then? Also how should your new wine taste, can you get an idea of how it will taste once aged?

  9. Lisa

    Hello Hank,

    Great article on making Elderberry wine. I especially love the level of detail the instructions get. Unfortunately though I didn’t see your website until after I had already steam juiced my berries. So my question is do I just take 3 gallons of the straight juice or do I mix the juice with some water? If so, how much juice to water? Thanks and look forward to checking out the rest of your website.

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