2022 Elderberry

March 2022

This wine has been planned since last summer, but I’m just getting around to making it.

I have a 25 liter (6.6 US gallon) demijon free, so the plan is to make enough wine to fill it. Since the elderberry concentrate reconstitutes to 5 gallons (19 liter), I purchased 1 liter of red and 1 liter of white grape concentrate to extend it to 7 gallons. I wanted 2 liters of red grape concentrate, but it wasn’t in stock at American Brewmaster, so I snagged what I could.


Fruit 1 gallon Vintner’s Best Elderberry fruit wine base
1 liter Global Vintners Inc red grape concentrate
1 liter Global Vintners Inc white grape concentrate
Bentonite 3 tsp
Yeast Nutrient 6 tsp Fermax
Yeast 2 tsp Avante + 1/2 tsp Fermax + 1 tsp sugar
Fermentation Sugar 6 cups
Pectic Enzyme 3 tsp
Fermentation Oak 2 cups medium toast American shredded oak
Fining Agents 12.5 ml kieselsol & 75 ml chitosan
Sulphite as required
Aging Oak 1 oz medium toast Hungarian cubes
Finishing Sugar 10 oz wine conditioner plus 1/2 cup sugar
Glycerin 6 oz

Added a few cups of hot tap water to a 6.5 gallon primary, then stirred in 3 tsp bentonite until it was as dissolved as it would get. Added Fermax.

Poured in gallon of Elderberry concentrate. Used 3 quarts of hot tap water in 3 batches to rinse the jug, emptying all into the fermenter. Topped up with cold tap water to 5 gallons. Racked into a 32 gallon Brute, as I don’t have a smaller fermenter that can handle 7 gallons of must.

Since I don’t have a better way to measure, poured the white and red grape concentrate into the 6.5 gallon primary. Used a couple of cups of hot water, each, to rinse the bags, putting all water into the fermenter. Topped with cold water to 2 gallons. Poured this into the Brute with the Elderberry.

The SG is a bit low for my tastes, but I’ll fix that tomorrow. I’m targeting 1.090.

Created a yeast starter with 2 tsp Avante, 1/2 tsp Fermax, and 1 tsp sugar in 1 cup water.

SG 1.080
Stirred in 6 cups sugar to raise the Brix. Added pectic enzyme and fermentation oak. Note: the SG is higher than I planned, but I’m ok with it.

Added yeast starter.

SG 1.100
There is no activity, so it appears the yeast starter failed. I had the yeast stored in the freezer, and suspect the jump between freezer temperature and room temperature was too much.

Created a new starter with 4 tsp Avante, 1/2 tsp Fermax, and 1/2 tsp sugar in 1 cup 93 F water. This one took off within 15 minutes, and I inoculated 8 hours later.

SG 1.100
Racked the wine into the 25 liter demijohn. Managed to mix up the last bit, so a 4 liter jug is filled with sludge, that should clear. 03/27/2022
SG 1.001
Racked the “sludge” wine, netting about 80% of the total in clear wine. Added to demijohn.

Added 1/4 tsp K-meta and 12.5 ml Kieselsol. Stirred for 60 seconds, changing direction half way through.

Added 75 ml chitosan. Stirred for 60 seconds, changing direction half way through.

Topped with 1 bottle 2020 second run wine.

SG 1.001
Racked the wine. The SG dropped a bit and there was very little sediment. Added 1 oz medium toast Hungarian cubes, 1/4 tsp K-meta, and topped with a bottle of 2020 second run wine. 05/02/2022
SG 0.998
Racked the wine, reserving 4 liters that will be bulk aged an additional 4 to 6 months, then backsweetened and bottled without sorbate.

To the 5.5 gallons bottled today, added Stabilizing pack (sorbate + K-meta) from last fall’s kits, 10 oz wine conditioner (from Eric’s Riesling), and 1/2 cup sugar, stirring well after each addition.

Bottled. As with the Blackberry, forgot to take a final SG reading. I’ll do that when I open a bottle.

UPDATE: opened a bottle and checked SG.

SG 1.010
Bottled the final 4 liters of wine, using no sorbate.

I didn’t record the amount of sugar used, although the taste was as close to the first bottling as we could make it.

SG ???

Yield 33 bottles + 5 bottles (no sorbate)
Alcohol 13.9 %
Residual Sugar 3.1 %
06 Oct 2022 We backsweetened a bit more than I would have for myself, but the target audience should like it better.
23 Apr 2023 Bottled the final 4 liters without sorbate.
12 Jul 2023 Taste tested with Shannon. The wine fermented in the bottle, producing some carbonation, but not enough to blow the cork. The wine is bone dry, and we added a small amount of honey to smooth it.

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