How to Make Elderberry Wine


Elderberries are small fruits that grow on elder trees in late summer and are fully ripened and ready for harvest in early fall. The berries are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, and unlike many berries grown on trees and bushes in the wild, elderberries are safe for consumption and often used in recipes for candy, pies, jelly and wine. If you would like to try your hand at making your own elderberry wine, it takes a while, but it's a fairly simple process.

Step 1

Strip the elderberries from the stems of the plant. One way to remove the berries from the stems is to run a fork up from the stem's base, which pops the berries right off.

Step 2

Rinse the elderberries thoroughly. As you are rinsing them, check for stems left on the berries, and insects that may have been on the berries when they were picked.

Step 3

Place the rinsed elderberries into a large bucket. Crush the berries with a potato masher until they are pureed.

Step 4

Boil 1 gallon of water and pour half of the water into the bucket with the crushed elderberries. Add the sugar to the other half of the water and stir until dissolved. Pour the sugar water into the fermentation container.

Step 5

Place a sieve over the fermentation container. Pour the elderberries through the sieve into the sugar mixture.

Step 6

Add the citric acid and yeast to the fermentation container and stir just until combined. Cover the mixture and allow it to sit for five days without disturbance to ferment.

Step 7

Funnel the fermented wine into a demijohn and seal. Allow the wine to sit for six weeks. After six weeks, pour the wine into new glass containers and leave for another six months before drinking.

Tips and Warnings

  • Red elderberries are not safe to eat and should not be harvested for wine.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 lbs. fresh elderberries
  • 3 lbs. sugar
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 tsp. citric acid or 1 campden tablet
  • Wine yeast
  • Fork
  • Collander
  • Bucket
  • Potato masher
  • Pan
  • Long spoon
  • Plastic or glass container with cover
  • Sieve
  • Funnel
  • Demijohn
  • Glass containers


  • USDA: Common Elderberry
  • Wine-Making Guides: How to Make Elderberry Wine
  • Easy-Wine: How to Make Elderberry Wine
Keywords: elderberry wine, elderberries, fermentation

About this Author

Alexis Lawrence has been writing professionally for six years and has been published on Associated Content. She is also a freelance filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. Lawrence attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science in English.