Elderflowers are starting to bloom

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Luc

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Ok now the dandelions are harvested the elderflowers start slowly appearing over here in Rotterdam.

Now I can imagine that not everyone is charmed by dandelion wine.

But elderflowers is a whole different thing.
I have not yet encountered anyone who did not like my
elderflower syrup or wine:
http://wijnmaker.blogspot.com/2008/02/vlierbloesemwijn-elderflower-wine.html

De flowers smell fresh with a hint of citrus, and the flavor is like lychees (litchie if you like).

You just need a small lot of elderflowers to make a great summer-wine. And harvesting is really easy:

- Pick some complete screens
- put them in a plastic bag
- tie the bag tight
- let it is for 24 hour
- shake the bag for a few minutes

Now when you open the bag you will see that all the
flowers have come off the screens.

Easy and effective. You can see the process (and some other tips) in pictures on my web-log:

http://wijnmaker.blogspot.com/2009/05/vlierbloemen-oogsten-elderflower.html

Make the syrup and make the wine !!!!

Luc
 

St Allie

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fall here.. my elderberry bush is dropping all it's leaves and going to sleep..

Will be keen to make this in spring!

Allie
 

Wade E

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Hopefully I can find some around here to make some of that as it does sound interesting Luc.
 

WildSeedGrrrl

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I have no idea what an elderberry bush looks like. I've seen pictures but honestly any bush with cute white flowers, all look the same to me.

Midwest Brewing has them dried in 2oz packages. I'm wondering if that would be more than enough for a gallon batch of wine?

Does anyone know if elderberry bushes grow in Minnesota?

WSG
 
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Skyhawk

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Does anyone know if elderberry bushes grow in Minnesota?
Elderberry grows anywhere in Minnesota, but its distribution is formerly recorded for your state in this county map.

These big pictures of the flowers and leaves on the USDA site will help you identify them.

Elderberry grows where it can get some sun. Look for it in cut over areas, along bike and nature paths in suburban nature parks, in field hedgerows, edges of meadows, etc.
 

WildSeedGrrrl

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thanks skyhawk!

i'm not outdoorsy by any stretch of the imagination, though i have been known to take a hike (slow grudging walk in the forest, slapping at bugs and swearing nder my breath, I like to call it) with friends.

I'm going to try and check out the local lakes, ones with less traffic but with trails and see if I can find a few.

i've bookmarked those websites.

WSG
 

St Allie

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Luc?

I made a batch of rosehip syrup a couple of months ago.. I noted at the time a little bitterness. If I were to use this with elderflowers as a wine base come spring, do you think the bitterness would ferment out?.

Allie
 

Luc

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Allie,

Does the bitterness come back when you make lemonade from the syrup ???
If it does, it will come back in the wine.
Then in most cases, bitterness will mellow out if you will let a wine age. But elderflower wine is not the aging kind.........

Rosehipsyrup will likely color the wine as a blush wine.

Luc
 

Luc

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Update:

The day before yesterday in the evening I picked elderflowers, put them in a bag, sealed it and let it be for the night.

Yesterday I picked some more.
It was a national holliday, so I had a good time picking
elderflowers.

I have now already 55 liter elderflower wine fermenting.

Luc
 

St Allie

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Thankyou Luc,

I think I will make it into a gallon of rosehip wine then. Just cellar it and forget about it for a couple of years..

Allie
 
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kkovic

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Hi everyone,
I have just started making a small amount of elderflower wine. I have however used a mixture of recipes and advice so just want someone more experienced to let me know what I should do next.
I currently have, in a bucket my elderflowers, lemon rind, chopped raisins, dissolved sugar, water and sachet of wine yeast under some plastic film. I have been advised to keep it like this for 7 days. I am not sure if this is flexible as in do I need to be looking out for anything when I transfer to a demijohn? I have not added any tea (substitute for tannin) or citric acid yet... should I have already done that, is it necessary or is it fine to add later?
I am also unsure of when I need to add Campden tablets. I know it is to stop the fermentation process, but at what stage?
So many questions I know!!
Thanks for any help,
K
 

Wade E

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Campden tablets should be added right along with everything else in the beginning to kill off any wild yeast or bacteria. You should also add pectic enzyme to prevent any pectin haze. You should also add the acid if you have it as a balanced must will ferment better. Campden tablets are not to stop a fermentation but to protect it from oxidation when its done fermenting and to ais in renewed fermentation like malolactic fermentation. Do you have a hydrometer, if not you really should get 1 as they are cheap and will help guide you along the path of wine making.
 

St Allie

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Morning Kkovic,

If this were my wine,

I would add the tannin and the acid because flower wines don't have a lot of structure or body,you can still add them now.

The campden tablets are added initially to kill bacteria and any wild yeasts, before adding the commercial yeast 24 hours later. Campden tablets do not stop fermentation by the way. If you have poured boiling water on your flowers in your recipe at the start, that basically does the same thing as a substitute for campden tablets in old recipes.

Many recipes recommend keeping the primary must in a bucket with a clean teatowel over the top, yeast needs oxygen intially and I find using plastic film for 7 days a nuisance. Much easier to flip back the teatowel and stir rather than faff about with plastic film and rubber bands in my opinion.

Transfer to a demijohn is generally done when the initial fermentation stops foaming so much, as some wines will foam so energetically, it will come right through your airlock. Messy!

Allie
 
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Luc

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All above are sound advise.

I would also get myself first a hydrometer and an acid testing kit.
At this stage you are not sure what the SG is and how high acidity is.
These are essential things to know when making a decent wine.

Next I advise you to let it ferment no longer as 4 days on the pulp (flowers).

And last I would urge you to give full details on any recipe when asking a question. We do not know at this stage how much sugar you added, how much flowers are in, how large the batch is, etc etc etc.

On my web-log in the column on the right side there are some free-downloadable books. I suggest you read them first because most of your questions will be answered in them.

Luc
 

sweetcheeks

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Luc,
The bag idea is absolutely brilliant. I will definately try it this year. Last year, I snipped the flowers off with a scissor. Then I tried freezing them; which worked well because the bugs died and the flowers just crumbled right off the stems. Your bag idea eliminates the need for a huge feezer space.
Last summer was my first time at Elderflower wine. The results are lovely. The wine is a lite golden, heavy bodied, aromatic, very sweet wine. I did't intend on it being so sweet but being a novice at wine making, I'm quite happy with success in general. So, after having read your webpage, I have a couple of questions.
How are you measuring your pH? I need to buy something but am looking for a good recommendation. Also, how do you determine the need for tannins? And how do you decide how much to add?
I will definately try your syrup this year. The BBC recipe I used last year didn't go over very well. I am also very, very interested in hearing about your elderflower champagne.
Who knew those lovely little flowers and berries I have passed along the road and in the forrests all these years are such delightful little treasures! Thanks, Luc!
 

Luc

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Sweetcheeks,

I do not measure PH. This is because I do not own a PH meter.

I do however have an acid testing kit. That will not be
needed for this wine. Flowers do not contain any acid so you will
have to provide that yourself.
So just add acid till you reach the .6 value. I think that is sufficient
for this wine.

As you can see I did not add any tannin. You might if you want an extra 'bite' in the wine, but I though it was just fine.

You could add some banana's for extra mouthfeel, again I did not think it was needed.
I made 60 liter last year and they are all gone.
This year I am urged by my girlfriend to make more ......

Luc
 

Woodbee

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I am starting to consider a batch of Elderflower wine. If I were to bypass the syrup process and used the flowers in my must, How many Pounds,onces,cups,liters or whatever the volume of destemed screens of flowers should I use for a 5gal/19 liter batch?
And should I also be introducing Vanilla in some format?
Brad
 

Woodbee

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Thanks for the links Wade. I would have me for ever to find that much info.
It looks like about a pint of blossoms per gallon. But one of the sites are talkin about 6 pounds per gallon. That sounds rather excessive.
 
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