Friday, 3 July 2009

Elderflower Wine

The Scraper has been picking elderflowers.
It is a very laborious and labour intensive process
to pick the tiny flowerlets off the stalks
and collect them in a delicate heap.

Any "winemakers" among you will
know about the long process to turn this heap of blossom into wine.
I have no idea about the alchemical wizardry involved,
all I know is that at first there will be an intense scent of fruitiness
pervading the scullery.
A week later large glass bottle shapes will appear,
(which the scraper assures me are called demi-johns)
which hubble and bubble away gently,
every so often emitting a gentile burp,
which actually sounds quite friendly and homely.

In our house, this fermenting process lasts for about a month.

Eventually, the fermented liquid clears and the burping, which has
become part of family life, much like the dog snoring,
and the liquid is strained into bottles.

The bottles are stored away and for twelve months at least,
we have no idea what the "wine" tastes like.

There are, of course,
bottles of homemade wine already and always available.
I will be generous, and say, that they come in very handy for making gravy.


  1. Lovely post. And I bet the gravy's good too.

  2. Does that mean you don't like to drink it as wine? I have great memories of wine-making friends with varied ingredients like dandelion or linden blossom. Lemon verbena is a great flavor too. I have no clue how to make it, but I am available for tasting, any time.

  3. Oh, how fun! I made a syrup from elder flowers one year and I remember how wonderful it smelled - so perfumey! I'm sure the wine tastes lovely!! :) Silke

  4. That must be fun. I have never tasted that kind of wine. We live in the bourbon making capitol of the world and a distillery on every road. There are very distinctive smells around this area. A bet the gravy is good. Blessings

  5. Is elderberry wine not made from berries but from the blosssoms then? and doesn't it taste sweet, like port or a liqueur? If so, the gravy would be good as a marsala. with fowl, for ex. Wow, and I complained tonight because I had to slice up a watermelon as my husband bought it whole and not already cut up! You ssound like you have the D.H. Lawrence lifestyle (excluding those extracurriculars).

  6. I have never heard of elderberry wine, nor tasted it for that matter. My mother used to make blackcurrant liquor from the bushes in her garden, and I liked that a lot – very good on vanilla ice cream. But my mother’s cousins, in France, had a still and went to orchards to make applejack - that is very strong alcohol. We would place a sugar cube in the tiny liquor glass full of applejack (called Calvados) and suck it and it was called “un canard” (a duck) don’t know how it got that name.

  7. Santé!
    What a nice discovery...finding people being in such close contact with nature.
    Over here am glad to find some green, eventhough difficult throughout a Greek summer...luckily there's your site with flowers, wine ...
    Please have a nice weekend.

  8. 20th C Woman - the gravy's grand!

    English Rider - No, I don't particularly; but it's a date then?

    Silke - The heap of blossom smells a bit like cat's pee to start with but it soon wears off and becomes very fruity.

    Queenmothermamaw - It's one of the many old-fashioned things that old-fashioned people living in the countryside in England still do. We can't compare with the bourbon making art!

    Margaret - Elderflower wine is different from elderberry wine. More delicate. The scraper will be making elderberry wine in the autumn when the berries are ripe. And no, the wine is quite dry and has to have some kind of sweetener added.
    D.H. Lawrence lifestyle? Give me a gamekeeper and I'll see what happens!

    Vagabonde - I remember the men in the family back in the old days in Germany all made some kind of alcoholic drinks, often liqueurs, also from blackcurrants. It was too strong for me.
    I love cooking pork with apple and calvados and we always bring a bottle back from France.

    Robert - Prost! Life among the older generation in the country can be quite rural, with all the rural pursuits. But it is dying out here too.
    Enjoy the beautiful Greek sunshine; Frohes Wochenende!


  9. Lydia - I didn't see you there, you must have commented while I was answering previous comments. Thanks for coming over in spite of being hard-pressed.

  10. Lovely post - especially the photo of the patient soul picking off all the tiny blossoms.We don't have this kind of wine making here - or at least none that I've heard of. We make blackberry-everything, as the blackberries are abundant.
    I caught up on your other posts as well - lovely tribute to your friend, who sounds like the sort of person from whom I could have learned a thing or two.
    Your Garden Tour post was delightful! The Great Dane would have been one of those fellows ticking off gardens and I'd have been one of those ladies taking altogether too much of your time!
    Thanks so much for your tender comment on my post. It helped to write the post and helped immeasurably to have the response.

  11. Pondside - thank you for your appreciation.
    I am glad if I was able to help.

  12. never tried elderflower wine - but if it's anything like elderflower cordial it will doubtless be lovely.

    Keep on posting xx

  13. Hi, hungry Pixie - it can be quite mellow but dry. Will do, it's fun.


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