Elderberry wine

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Jul 18, 2017
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Hallo fellow winemakers . Getting ready for lunch and wanted a glass wine to go with it. Spotted my elderberry wine I made in 2020 and almost forgot about. I tasted it in its first year and frankly almond spat it out. Needs more time i said to myself. So i opened one today and let me tell you what a difference. Much more drinkable, some delicate flavors I'm having difficulty describing. You that have made it before what is your impression? Would love to hear from you. Thanks.
Thanks for your comments. I read some before making so was not too surprised. But 4 years? Damn! I did not think I had that much patience. I take my dogs to a 160 acre park near by and there is lots of high Bush cranberries,saskatoons and most importantly (for me) chokecherie bushes,elderberries, hazelnuts free for the picking. I love free fruit!
From what everyone says on this forum, your experience is typical.

I made my first elderberry in 2021, so it's still a relatively new thing for me. My comments at bottling were 'sour, thin and tannic'; my wife thought it was like 'kool aid before you've added the sugar'. We almost didn't bottle it but decided we didn't have much to lose so went ahead. Tasting 15 months later (so ~27 months after vintage) was much more encouraging; 'assertive acidity but nice fruit (though a bit light); tannins mellowed out'.

That 2021 wine had 9lb elderberries and 2lb (Black Monukka) grape in 3 gallons, so ~3lb/gal elderberry. In 2022 I used 8.25kg/18.15lb elderberry in 6 gallons, so similar amount of fruit but I did an initial 4 day cold soak and drained/pressed after a week when brix was still relatively high. Tasting notes at bottling were 'Fruity, rounded with unobtrusive tannins', I figure I have at least another 9 months to go before trying my first bottle.

My 2023 version had a lot more fruit: 16.15kg/35.5lb in a 7 gallon batch, so a little over 5lb per gallon. I did the same 4-day cold soak and drained/pressed after a week. Too early to tell how it will turn out, but taste at 5 months after ferment was 'Intense elderberry flavor and not too tannic'.

What recipe did you use? Curious to compare and contrast...
@BarrelMonkey My 2022 Elderberry used 20 lbs. of elderberries in an initial total volume of 4 gallons, aiming for 3+ gallons of finished wine. So that is a similar amount of fruit to your 2023 version. I had to add quite a bit of tartaric acid and acid blend to get the pH down to 3.6. So far, after almost 2 years, the flavor is developing nicely. I look forward to seeing what this tastes like next year!

Edit: I bottled this batch about 6 weeks ago. I put the leftover partial bottle in the fridge, and when I tried it my reaction was, "This is why I make Elderberry wine!"
I did not care for elderberry wine until I tasted my 2yr old wild elderberry. At three years it was already better than any commercial offering I have tasted… backed up by everyone I know who likes elderberry! Unfortunately, at year four I only have a few bottles left😥
You can make more! 😁
In March I planted three elderberry bushes. It will be a year or two before I get much of a harvest, so this year I'll be visiting a friend this year to harvest some elderberries.