Elderberry Valpolicello Wine Recipe

Last week I mentioned that I had a special recipe I was going to use with the last gallon of Valpolicello wine. After making the 6 gallon batch of wine from fresh juice, I rack the wine into a 5 gallon carboy. This leaves me with 1 gallon extra. I decided to make a second batch of wine using the left over wine in the bucket. I had a few pounds of Elderberries in the freezer and a couple of cans of Welches frozen grape juice. That was the basis of the recipe.

First, I use the same bucket that the original wine fermented in, I did not clean it out. When I racked the wine to the 5 gallon carboy, I left 1 gallon in the bucket. I then placed 7 pounds of elderberries in a nylon straining bag and placed that in a pot. I then mixed 8 pounds of sugar and 2 gallon of water in with the elderberries.  Then I added 2 cans of Welches grape juice. I did not boil the water, I just warmed it up to room temperature and added it to the bucket. I then added enough water to bring the bucket to 5 gallons. Next I added 2 teaspoons of acid blend for each gallon of wine for a total of 10 teaspoons. Since the wine in the bucket had yeast still in it, the fermentation started right away. I did not have to add any additional yeast.

I started this wine on 9/15/2011. PA was at 11.5% and TA was at .60%. I stirred it every day to mix the fruit into the wine. (As wine ferments, the fruit will float to the top and needs “punched down” in order to get maximum extraction of the flavors and colors.) On 9/22/2011 I lifted the bag of elderberries from the wine and let it drain. (Do Not Squeeze The Bag!) I then racked the wine from the bucket into a 5 gallon carboy for secondary fermentation.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind for this process. First, since the left over wine in the bucket is still fermenting, you do not want to do anything that will kill the yeast. I don’t add sulfite at this stage because I want fermentation to begin right away. I don’t pour boiling hot water into the bucket. I make sure the water temp is withing 5-10 degrees of the wine so as not to shock the yeast. Same thing with frozen fruit, bring it within 5-10 degrees of the wine must before adding it to the bucket.

Second, you can adjust the amount of fruit and frozen grape juice to suit what you have on hand. I used 7 pounds of elderberries because that was what I had in the freezer. I used 2 cans of Welches Frozen Grape Juice because, again, that is what I had in the freezer. Generally, I will use 8 pounds of fruit or 8 cans of Welches Frozen grape juice for a second run recipe. Mix and match as you see fit.

Well, that is one of the ways I stretch my wine. Using this method, I can make two batches of wine for a little more than the cost of one. Both of these wines should be done at around the same time, so I will be bottling 10 gallons instead of 5. That is how you make wine on a budget.