This blog is a record of the wine that I make and drink. Each flavour made and each bottle drunk will appear here. You may come to the conclusion that, on the whole, I should be drinking less.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Elderberry Wine 2016 - The Making Of...

September has been as warm as July this year. The middle two weeks were glorious. This is not something to complain about. However, it caused me to worry about the availability of elderberries. On Sunday 18th September I explored the area near Gledhow Wood Road where I had gathered elderflowers in June. I had expected trees dripping with elderberries and instead found scant pickings. Either the elderberries were black and ash-like, or they had been snatched by the birds. I went home disheartened with only 8 ounces.

A typical tree on my first attempt

The following Sunday I tried Stonegate Fields, which was only slightly better, and then the open area behind Stainbeck Road, where at last I found a couple of fecund trees. This still only produced 2 lbs of elderberries - not enough even for a single batch. That afternoon, without much hope, I drove to Hetchell Woods and walked down Kennel Lane. Ahead of me was a young couple carrying plastic bags. As I got closer, I saw that one of those bags contained elderberries. This was unwelcome competition. I greeted them with "I see we have exactly the same idea", told them my recipe, assured them that there would be plenty of berries for both of us, and then made sure that I overtook them.

Much better!

Quickly I found a field off Kennel Lane where I saw many elder trees hanging with black fruit. I went in and managed to fill my bags - my worries had proved groundless. This produced far more than the 6 lbs I needed for a double batch. The rest are in the freezer.

Stripping the berries from their stalks took about two hours, during which I listened to a Dum-Tee-Dum podcast. I crushed these in my bucket with a potato masher and added 5 lbs of sugar and 12 pints of boiling water.

On Monday morning, 26th September, I put in the yeast and a teaspoon each of nutrient and pectolase. After stirring twice a day I transferred the liquid into its demijohns on Friday night, 30th September. It is fermenting away and is the darkest of all my wines.