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There is Nothing Like a Fine Wine

In the summer of 1994 a couple of my friends finally got married. It was at their wedding that I first tasted elderberry wine. They had made two years earlier, it was great. Not long after I finished the bottle that I brought home with me I asked for the recipe. One day I spent hours driving around looking for and picking elderberries. I must have picked 20 pounds. I finally got the recipe. It said 4 pounds of berries for 2 gallons of wine, so I doubled it. The wine made a perfect Christmas/birthday/wedding/anyotheroccasion gift.

Recipe for elderberry wine

8 pounds elderberries

4 gallons water

4 cups raisins

2 one inch pieces of fresh ginger root

2 lemons

6 pounds sugar

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

Place berries and raisins in kettle with 2 gallons water. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain juice and discard berries and raisins. Squeeze juice from lemon and add to berry juice along with sugar and bruised ginger. Simmer 10 minutes. Strain juice through several layers of cheese cloth then pour into clean crock. Let it sit for 48 hours before deciding if yeast should be added.

After fermentation begins, allow to stand in crock for 2 weeks before siphoning into clean jugs. Put balloons over the mouths of the jugs and let stand for 3 months. Remove balloons and siphon into clean jugs with tightly fitting caps. Do this again in 3 months. Bottle and cork. Matures in 3 to 5 years, but you could drink it any time.


Since then I have tried to make wine with grapes on several occasions with limited success. I have more than 30 bottles of wild grape red wine vinegar and 6 gallons of mediocre red wine made from Worden grapes. My one true success is a bottle of Fox Grape Port that tastes like any bottle of $40 Port you might buy at the store. I hope to get a chance to drink it with someone special.

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