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Elderflower Champagne (dry)

Elderflower Champagne (dry)

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    Tip: It is important that Elderflowers are picked from trees that are not close to heavily used roads as they can absorb traffic pollution. Also, try to pick creamy-white elderflowers rather than very deep cream-coloured flowers as they produce a purer flavour.

    Place the Elderflowers in a pre-sanitised fermenting bucket.  Pour the cold water over the contents together with the rest of the ingredients. 

    Stir thoroughly. Cover the bucket with a cloth and leave to ferment in a warm place for 5 days.  Stir the contents of the bucket daily. Then strain into a 1-gallon demijohn through a muslin or nylon straining bag. Press as much as possible and discard the pulp. It may be necessary to top up with cooled boiled water to 4½litres.

    Fit a bung and airlock and leave in a warm place to continue to ferment out 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. You should aim to achieve a final gravity of 0.996. Normally Elderflower Champagne, is consumed as a dry wine and is often mixed with blackcurrant cassis to make a Kir Royal. Glycerine or a little Wine Sweetener can be used to smoothen the wine if desired as they are non-fermentable. As a rough guide final finishing gravity levels are:

    Dry wine- 0.996-1.000

    Medium Wine-1.000-1.010

    Finishing the Elderflower Champagne

    At the end of fermentation add a measure of Harris Winefine finings to clear the wine. Keep the wine in a cool place for around 7 days to clear. Then you should also consider passing the wine through a Vinbrite filter to obtain a professional finish before bottling. Only use the Prime Pad supplied with the filter as you will need to retain live yeast cells to make the fizz.

    The wine should now be bottled in champagne-style bottles or bottles that have held a pressurised drink. Add 2 Brew Fizz Carbonation drops to each bottle, then siphon the wine into each bottle leaving a 1cm space at the top. Secure the caps (or fit a champagne cork and cage) and store them in a warm place (24C/75F) for 7 days. Then move the bottles to a cool dark place to mature for 3-6 months. During this time any harsh tastes will be smoothed out and the wine will improve in bouquet and flavour.

    Serve your Elderflower Champagne chilled. Be careful when pouring to avoid disturbing the sediment. It may be easier to pour the whole bottle at once into a decanter and then serve from that to avoid carrying sediment over into the glass. Serve in a champagne glass and decorate with a strawberry or raspberry for effect.


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