Elderberry Wine

This batch was made from 2 96oz. cans of Vintner’s Harvest Elderberry Wine Base ($37 a piece). I followed the simple recipe on the can, except I adapted their 3-gallon recipe to a 6-gallon recipe, plus a teaspoon of grape tannin and a 2oz. bag of dried elderflowers. Yeast: Lalvin K1-V1116.

Status Date Specific Gravity Fluid Temp. Air Temp.
Primary Fermentation 2011-05-17 PM 1.114 60°F 65°F
Secondary Fermentation 2011-05-29 PM 1.008 65°F
Clearing 2011-06-29 PM °F
Second Clearing 2011-07-24 AM
Tertiary Clearing
Bottling 2011-08-14

Primary Fermentation

Preparing the must was simple. These particular cans of fruit base don’t actually include any fruit. It’s just juice. I had my mesh bag ready to go only to discover this fact. The elderberry juice looks and smells very similar to the grape juice that comes with the red wine kits. I’ve had homemade elderberry wine before, so this doesn’t surprise me. I think elderberries can make a very good red wine. 2011-05-23: specific gravity = 1.034

Secondary Fermentation

The primary fermentation took a while, but the air temp during that time was lower than normal with very cool evenings. After a full day the secondary fermentation is still going strong. 2011-06-04: Still fermenting but beginning to ebb after a full week of aggressive secondary fermentation. 2011-06-19: Still fermenting, but quite slowly now.


Added 6 crushed Campden tablets and stirred a lot of carbon dioxide out. 2011-07-24: About a 1/4-inch of lees on the bottom. Wine looks very clear at this point, but a few more weeks of bulk aging should be fine.


Ended up using part of this batch for a blend with the Hippo wine batch using a 2:1 ratio. “1” being the elderberry. After the blending I bottled about 17 bottles of straight elderberry wine. So far it tastes delicious.