My Dearest has recently become a wine maker, needs must when the money runs out. I thought I’d join him, so we have set up a micro brewery in the kitchen. My first effort was to use a kit for Elderflower Wine, but I could not help feeling I was cheating; a can of Sancerre grape concentrate and a packet of dried Elder flowers doesn’t really leave me feeling the joy of the hunter gatherer filling her store cupboards with God’s Bounty plucked from the hedgerow.
I dug out an old book I had on country wine making, and found a recipe for elderflower wine that called for the gathering of real Elderflowers in the byways and field margins. We walked along a local cycle path well away from any road, and cut only two heads from each Elder tree (Sambucus Nigra) leaving plenty of flowers to produce berries for the birds (or maybe elderberry wine). There were so many Elder trees we only had to walk a few hundred yards to collect enough.
Back at the ranch, a pint of fresh Elderflowers, sugar, water, vinegar, lemons and yeast were put in a bucket to macerate for a few days before I strained the flowers off and putting the liquid in a demijohn.
Normally wine will take 10-14 days to brew depending on the ambient temperature and then stop. My wine has been has been bubbling away for more than 4 weeks and still going. I suspect it will be rocket fuel and will need to be served in thimbles.
I’ve been offered the flowers from an ornamental Elder, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea, flavour wise, we’ll see how this batch turns out. I’ve dried the excess flowers, in case I want to make some more before next summer.
In the meantime we have a very satisfactory “cellar” developing which hopefully will be ready to drink by Christmas, Happy Days!