Chop the apples. Add them to the elderflower and damsons in a pre-sterilised fermenting bucket. If possible, destone the damsons before use and crush them lightly to release the juice. Tip: An Olive/Cherry Pitter is a useful gadget for easily removing stones
Pour the cold water over the contents together with the rest of the ingredients.
Stir thoroughly, then cover the bucket with a cloth and leave to ferment in a warm place for 5 days.
Stir the contents of the bucket daily.
After 5 days, strain into a 1-gallon demijohn through a muslin or nylon straining bag. If you don’t have quite enough liquid – top up with cooled boiled water to reach the required amount.
Press as much liquid as possible and discard the pulp.
Fit a bung and airlock and leave in a warm place to continue to ferment completely.
Fermentation should be complete in 2-4 weeks. It should then be checked with a hydrometer. The hydrometer will indicate the remaining sugar level and finishing levels are as follows:
- Dry: 0.990 – 0.996
- Medium: 0.996 – 1.009
- Sweet: 1.009 – 1.018
At the end of fermentation add 1 crushed Campden tablet and half a teaspoon of potassium sorbate per gallon.
Leave in a warm place for 3 days to kill off the yeast. Then the wine should be left to clear in a cool place (15C) before siphoning from the sediment.
Clearing the wine
Country wines may not clear on their own and it is recommended to add findings.
Winefine finings are very effective for clearing wine. When clear you should pass the wine through a Vinbrite filter to obtain a professional finish before bottling.
The wine should now be bottled and stored in a cool dark place to mature for at least 6 months. During this time any rough tastes will be smoothed out and the final flavour will improve.