Dried Elderberries

header photo

Natural Elderberry Wine Recipe For Dried Elderberries

I am not a wine connoisseur, but I know what I like and what I  do not like. I have found no wine I like better the natural elderberry wine I make using whole dried elderberries and  the simple recipe below. Campden tablets, acid blend and yeast nutrient are not necessary for making a nice wine with elderberries, so why use them.

You have likely been told that wine must age a year or so to be drinkable, however, this elderberry wine made without sulfites, sorbates,  preservatives or any other additives is not only drinkable as soon as it is bottled, it is quite enjoyable.  Here is the recipe for one gallon of wine with the ingredients listed in the order they are used. To make more than one gallon just increase all ingredients proportionately except for the yeast. 1 package of yeast will work for up to 6 gallons.

Elderberry Wine Recipe

One gallon of water
3 pounds of sugar
4 to 5 ounces of dried elderberries
1 package of yeast.  ( I use Red Star Premier Classique )
  1. Wash dried elderberries and put in nylon straining bag with several marbles for weight. Tie the open end of the bag. Set aside.
  2. Bring water to boil. (use a porcelain or stainless steel pot, do not use aluminum)
  3. Add the sugar to the pot and stir.
  4. Add to the pot the bag filled with the elderberries .
  5. Cover and set aside 12 hours, or until cooled to near room temperature.
  6. Add the yeast and cover pot with a lid. ( I use the boiling pot as my primary fermenter)
  7. Stir and squeeze bag every day, always recovering the pot with the lid.
  8. Ferment in the pot for 4 to 6 days.
  9. Transfer liquid to the jugs or carboy, fit airlock.
  10. Allow to ferment until fermentation stops.
  11. Rack every 21 days until wine clears and all sediment has settled to the bottom.
  12. Bottle and enjoy. This wine Improves with age.

Many things are easier to demonstrate than to describe in text, so I plan to record the making of  my next batch of elderberry wine and post it to You Tube. A link will be provided on this web site.

More than four decades ago I made my first gallon of elderberry wine from wildcrafted elderberries with only the most basic tools. 

  • A six qt. pot that served to prepare the must, and as the primary fermenter.
  • A gallon jug for secondary fermenter (car boy)
  • A balloon as the air lock
  • A ¼ ID plastic tube (siphoning tube)

I can still make a most excellent elderberry wine using only these simple tools and have a lot of fun doing it. But over the years I have added a few additional tools. These include:

  • A larger pot
  • More 1 Gallon jugs
  • Two 3 Gallon car boys
  • Air locks and drilled stoppers
  • Hydrometer
  • Wine thermometer
  • A wine thief
  • Better siphoning equipment
  • Bottle corker

With this added equipment the only real change in the finished product is that, with the hydrometer, I can measure the alcohol content, and my bottled wine with my label looks very professional. The most important thing is to find a recipe that you really like. I have developed mine, and it only took me four attempts to create what is my favorite, above any commercial wine. I hope you can start with this recipe and adjust the ingredients, mostly the sugar and juice concentration, and find your favorite wine.

Check out my other website


Tips on finding jugs and carboys

I use 1 gallon jugs for making small batches of wine, and 3 gallon carboys for larger batches. A good place to get one gallon jugs is to go to Whole Foods and buy a gallon of apple cider for under $10. You can drink the apple cider as is or use it and the jug to make hard apple cider.

Whole Foods also has a 3 gallon plastic water jug .for under $10

Home Depot carries a 5 gallon food grade plastic bucket to use as aprimary fermenter for under $4.

Wine Making Super Store

This is my choice of on line wine making supply stores for all my wine making supplies, except for dried elderberries of course.