A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

This Elderflower and Apple wine recipe is how I'd make it today, this was originally blended after the fact. Something done in grape wine making to achieve the right flavours and bouquet, or to mask a bad year with a good one.

I've added a few variations within the recipe depending on the colour of your crab apples. And if you had a lot of elderflower heads in your vicinity, you could use 25 elderflower blossoms and drop the crab apples completely ... I'd call that elderflower wine recipe "elderflower cordial with Sauternes yeast" ;)

12 Elderflower Heads
1.5 Lbs of Crab Apples
Zest of 1 lemon (grated)
7 pints of boiling water
1 crushed campden tablet
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1/2 tsp citric acid or half a lemon's juice
1/2 litre of Aldi Rio D'Oro grape juice, white if you'd prefer to keep the colour of the fruit, red if you want a blusher wine, but you need it for tannin. 8 Oz of Sultanas is an alternative or a 1/2 pint of strong tea.
2-3 Lbs of sugar
2 tsp of yeast nutrients
Harvest MA 33 yeast for Red Crab Apples for a blush wine
Sauternes for Yellow Crab Apples for a light amber wine
Sauternes for Regular Apples for a whiter wine

I would recommend using crab apples in this recipe. Freeze them, then thaw in the bucket. You'll be able to crush them with your fingers once the boiling water has been thrown in. (when cooler)
Over the next few days you'll be stirring the must to get the flavours into the water so you can skim off the apple pips as you go.

My rule is of thumb is  as always, only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12%.


Well, it's been a few months since I made any wine, we've probably drunk some of the younger ones already, but the reality is, that we moved from Devon. Said goodbye to my garden, veggie terrace and fruit to come to sunny Somerset and run Tiger Barn Cattery with the love and attention every kitty deserves.
It took me just over 2 weeks to spot a likely resource for crab apples in Keinton Mandeville though I spotted the elderberry blossoms a mile off. It's hard to miss their showy heads waving from the hedgerows ... I even have one or two of my own.
It makes a great change from mountainous backdrop of Dartmoor to flat and undulating Somerset, and goddamnit, it's great to see every dawn starting at 6 am not 10 and bloody fantastic to have every sunset play out right to the end when it dips down behind the earth rather than being cast into the long shadow at 4 pm in the middle of Summer.
Katriona doesn't love it yet, but she loves all the kitties, and in all honesty, everyone we've met here seem to be way nicer than the dysfunctional miscreants that seem to flock into Devon. I view Devon like I do Nepal, fantastic place to visit, but a not a place to be ill, poor or old or to try to make a living out of.

It's 2011 and the first wine that comes into bloom is Elderflower. I made half a gallon of Elderflower cordial because I adore the smell and the taste, then went back for more flower heads to make some wine.
Just an aside for foragers: If you find an elderberry in flower, don't strip it of flowers, take a few and find another bush because there'll be no elderberries in September if you leave them naked.

From my notes:

My hydrometer is missing. I don't see that it'll make much difference after all the 2010 brew and blend fiascos I might as well do it all with a guess ...

Sun 15th May 2011

Picked 25 heads from 20 plants on a single run of 3 miles. Huzzah for Somerset.
Washed & destalked with a fork for 1.5 pints of elderflower blossom
Grated the skin of one lemon onto the blossom
Added the Raisins
Covered with 8 pints of boiling water
Added a campden tablet at 9 PM

Stirred for 5 days

Thurs 20th May 2011

Strain and threw 'mush' into the compost bin

3 Lbs of sugar
2 tsp of Yeast nutrient (TronOzymol)
Added yeast

Thurs 27th May 2011

Added 1 tsp of citric acid
Strained into demijohn and put in the Boiler room.


I bought a new Hydrometer from a hop shop in Somerton. What a great place to peruse, a useful supply of decent yeasts, Muntons, Gervin's, Lalvin and Ritchies and a few other manufacturers foily packets. The hydrometer didn't float high enough in my Elderflower, but it was a crystal clear yellow with a good nose but woefully over-sweet even for a table white.

Saturday 30th July 2011

1st Rack
SG: 1.010
Topped up with Yellow Cherry Plum and White Currant put back in the utility room to clear.
SG: 1.010


Towards the end of August, I got 'round to fixing the Elderflower Wine. The Cattery has been crazy. In the garden I've built a few raised beds. I've got in onions and sweetcorn, dwarf beans and potatoes, dozens of carrots garlic, leeks and runner beans. I erected a fruit cage and replanted several Blueberry bushes (two are 5 years old now) some younger varieties, some red currants, blackcurrants and a white currant and rushed in several varieties of Raspberry canes. The polytunnel has produce: Cucumbers and tomatoes, aubergines and peppers and I'm spending 4 hours a day at least out there trying to knock this place into shape, pruning and growing salads. It's a serious undertaking when the previous owners seem to have done no maintenance for 4 years, while everything fell apart around them and occasionally mowed the lawn. I'm just trying to get everything back to a minimal standard of stewardship, it's taken 4 months and I'm starting to see a difference. There are less weeds around, I've hand dug the lawn free of dandelions, every tree has a shape, the driveway hedge is cut back to the fence, there are hanging baskets full of flowers and wooden cooper tubs emptied of rubbish and refilled with lobelia, white geraniums, marigolds, nasturtiums etc.


1/2 Gallon of Crab Apple Wine to blend with half the over-sweet Elderflower from May.

Friday 26th August 2011

Picked 1.5 Lbs of red/yellow crab apples in Keinton Mandeville and soaked overnight with a campden tablet.

Saturday 27th August 2011

Added 3 pints of boiling water
1 pint of Aldi Rio D'Oro Grape Juice

Sunday 28th August 2011

Squashed the flesh with a sterilized lump of wood,
Skimmed the loose pips from the surface
Left overnight.

Add 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme

Monday 29th August 2011

Made up with 1 Lb of sugar to SG: 1.080
Add TronOzymol
Add Harvest MA33 Yeast

Stir Daily until 4th September


Sunday 4th September 2011

Blended 1/2 Gallon of Elderflower with 1/2 Gallon of strained Red Crab Apple & Grape
Topped up with a little primary Green Gage
SG: 1.010


Monday September 19th 2011

SG: 0.994


Now aging in the demijohn