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[Product Image] Elderberry Blossoms

Songs have been sung, recipes written, fables told and retold about them. So just what is an elderberry and how do you make Elderberry wine? 

The scientific answer:  Elderberry plants are large shrubs, or small trees, sometimes growing up to 20 feet, cultivated to a limited extent in the U.S. for the fruit. Elderberry leaves are large and compound. Stems of an elderberry are hollow or pithy.

Elderberry fruits are produced in large flat clusters 6 to 9 inches across. Each individual elderberry is small and round, about 0.16 to 0.25 inch diameter, with prominent seeds. The color of an elderberry can vary from red to bluish-black, but are usually very dark. Elderberry fruit can be harvested from wild plants in considerable quantities. There are a few commercial plantings of a selected elderberry variety named Adams.

For elderberry wine production, we grow most of what we need alongside of our vineyard.   Sometimes we supplement our elderberry crop by harvesting wild fruit.   Wild elderberry stalks grow abundantly throughout Arkansas and in the spring can be easily located because of their large white blossoms. The sandy soil and climate of the Arkansas River Valley provide the perfect setting to produce exceptional quality and flavor characteristics for making elderberry wine. 

The trouble with making elderberry wine, especially in any volume, is separating the berries from the stems.  Anyone who has taken the time to try making elderberry wine can tell you of the wax-like substance that comes from the stems.  If you do not remove all the stems prior to fermenting, everything the elderberry bunches come in contact with will have a layer of this sticky wax all over, and it is very difficult to clean up.   Fortunately, through trials and tribulations of many years past, we have perfected a method to remove all of the elderberry stems prior to fermentation, totally preventing this most difficult problem.  We will, of course, keep that secret to ourselves!

 

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Last modified: 06/24/07