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 it 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. The wine can then be sweetened at the end if necessary. Wine Sweetener or Glycerine is recommended to sweeten or smoothen wines as they are non-fermentable. Sugar can be used but this incurs a slight risk of post-fermentation. Final finishing gravity levels are as follows:
Dry Wine- 0.990-0.996
Sweet Wine- 1.009-1.018
Finishing the Wine
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.
Some country wines may not fully clear on their own and it is recommended to add finings. Winefine finings are very effective. 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 harsh tastes will be smoothed out and the wine will improve in bouquet and flavour.
Serving your elderflower wine
Elderflower wine is a delicious white wine that is best when served chilled. Some winemakers blend a little Elderflower wine with other white wines. The background hint of elderflowers provides a final flavour that resembles German Rhine-style commercial wines. Blending country wines gives you the opportunity to have fun and create some unique styles of your own.