WV Elderberries

The Mrs. and 3 (2006) (left), 4 (2007), 5 (2008) and 6 (2009) year old year old Elderberries Flowering in our WV Wineyard

We started making country wines in 1996 in our little townehouse from fresh fruit and concentrates. We made an elderberry from concentrate, and while it was ok, it wasn't great. It wasn't until we moved back out into the countryside where we belong and had a real Wineyard where we could grow our own berries that our elderberry winemaking started to really take off.

In 2004 we bought our first elderberry bush from a chile farmer, but he didn't know what variety it was. We didn't have a pollinator and so we didn't get any fruit. In 2005 we added another unknown variety of elderberry and together they produced 9 pounds of berries. I know we could have gotten more berries but we didn't give them enough water. We picked the berries and stripped them off by hand and we made our first batch of homegrown elderberry wine using Pastuer Red yeast. It was oaked, and back sweetened a little with welches grape concentrate. It turned out surprisingly good young, probably due to the modest amount of tannins released from such a small amount of berries. We took it to some expert tasters and they thought it was good, but that it needed more body. Future batches will have at least 3 lbs of fruit for body and will likely take more time to age before being drinkable.

In 2006 we expanded our Wineyard to more than 30 Elderberry bushes, Sambucus Canadensis varieties Johns, York, Adams, Nova, and a Sambucus Nigra European variety, Sampo. The Elderberry Improvement Project at the university of Missouri has tested many Elderberry cultivars and described two new American varieties named Wyldedwood 1 and 2. In 2007 we planted both Wyldewood 1 and 2 and hope to get some berries in 2008 in our WV Wineyard to compare with the other varieties. We also planted a golden colored S. Nigra Elderberry, Greenberre, to make a white elderberry wine. Drip irrigation was installed in early 2007 and it has made a dramatic improvement in the growth of all the elderberries, they really like to have some water, especially when its hot and they are filling up with berries. In 2008 we planted two other S. Nigra varieties, Samdal and Hatchberg. We also planted 5 more Novas and 30 Johns, both of which produce the largest berries in our WV Wineyard in 2007.

We put this page together to localize as much information about growing Elderberries, harvesting the berries easily, and making wine with them and including some recipes. There are links to the safety of eating elderberries, the elderberry improvement project, Mr. Jack Kellers winemaking website with recipies, and to the winepress.us and other forums where you can learn a great deal about not only making elderberry wine but everything about making any wine.
Cracked Cork in WV

The Elderberry Forrest, Bushes are in Their 2nd (2007) (left) and 3rd (2008) and 4th (2009) Season of Growth and are Under Drip Irrigation in the WV Wineyard, and a Frozen Eldberry Picker Blizzard Feb 2010

Big Elderberry Flower Second Season of Growth in the WV Wineyard June 2007

Making Elderberry Wine

Elderberry and Berry Fruit Mead and Wine Recipes

Harvesting Elderberries

Elderberry Flowers, Leaves and Fruit

Elderberry Bugs and Diseases

Elderberry Links

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