This year, I was able to get not one, but two batch’s of Elderberry wine going. There’s a 3-gallon batch and a 5-gallon batch both made in dramatically different styles. I’ve always wanted to make Elderberry wine, mainly because my dad always told me that it was one of his favorite wines. As a typical apprentice might do, I wanted to “copy the master,” so Elderberry was on my list. But, where to get them?

My good friend Jimmy told me about his moms berry bush and how it was always busting with produce, so naturally, I urged him to allow me to help harvest them. Busting with produce is an understatement… After the de-stemming and washing, we had a cool 10 pounds of elderberries around 1am. We got that 3-gallon batch going that night.

Only days later, Jimmy called and said the bush was ready again. He brought over enough this time to make a total 18.5 pounds, so there was the start of the next 5-gallon batch.

Elderberries are small, about the size of a BB, these were a little larger. It’s a job to get 18 pounds! So, thanks a bunch to Jim for making it all possible this year and the reward will be sweet.

The second batch was really something special. The 18 pounds of berries were macerated by boiling sugar-water and allowed to steep overnight. The next day, I hand-strained through straining bags to get a dark, inky elderberry juice. The is the first batch of wine that I didn’t allow the berry pulp to ferment in the primary with the must. The result has been a vigorous fermentation and it worked over the course of 7 days. I’m  preparing to put this in the secondary already.

This is a real treat to have two  good-sized batches going both processed in their own style. Of course, the logs have been maintained so I know what process is better. We’ll just have to let next years cellar event do the talking.