Make Your Own Elderberry Wine

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Blue elderberry wine is every bit as good as a grape wine—or so says Hank Shaw, forager extraordinaire. When blue elderberries are picked at perfect ripeness, crushed, soaked, and fermented, he likens the result to some of the “huskier, more brooding” red grape wines like Mourvedre and Petit Verdot. If this idea intrigues you, you’re in luck! Mr. Shaw has provided a step-by-step guide to making your own elderberry wine, and since the elderberry season runs from July to early October, now is the perfect time to do it.

Elderberry wine-making may sound intimidating, but Shaw says “it’s more science than art.”

Balance is what I seek. A fine wine has acidity, alcohol and tannin all in proper proportion. One the prime problems in fruit wines is lack of balance. Some fruits are too acidic. Some too sweet. A few are too tannic. Grapes are the fruit closest to achieving perfection all on their own, which is why they “won” in the great winemaking game of life.

Elderberries, as it happens, come very close to this as well. They have excellent tannin levels, wonderful color, and reasonable amounts of sugar and acid. All you need to do is adjust these levels and you are on your way to making a wonderful wine.

Shaw also notes that the instructions he provides for elderberry wine could just as easily apply to other fruits, including plums, blueberries, huckleberries, even apples and pears.

Go To Full Tutorial: How To Make Elderberry Wine at

(Image: Emily Ho)