Ashton Park Elderflower Sparking Wine

Elderflower sparkling wine…here I come!

Harry and Meghan chose an Elderflower and Lemon cake for their wedding – and we approve!

There’s something wonderful about having an edible garden and creating your own elderflower sparkling wine. Particularly as the weather warms.

I was inspired by the famous kitchen gardener and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

In a TV episode, Hugh foraged the roadside hedgerows and made a batch of ‘wild wine’ from the delicate white flowers. Looked easy!

I gave it a go. And friends loved it.

So, we have been making delicious elderflower sparkling wine from our hedge at Ashton Park for 3 years now. We also infuse it with beautiful fresh home grown lemons.

While it can be a bit unpredictable, we’ve been perfecting the recipe and I think we’re on to something.

Making Elderflower sparkling wine

When the flowers from the hedge get going in spring, I make a batch nearly every second week.

Because the hedges depend on rain and warmth it is hard to schedule our Workshops too far ahead. So, if you’re interested keep an eye on our workshop page or shoot me an email and I can let you know when they’re coming up.

OK, so what is it?

Elderflower, also referred to as Elder and Elderberry, is common in Europe and can be seen growing wild in hedgerows and hillsides in spring and summer.

The plant is a deciduous shrub that grows to about 6m tall and wide. However it’s usefulness isn’t limited to spring and summer as it produces long, hollow canes which, apparently, were once very useful in winter as bellows to blow oxygen into a fire.

While it is less common in Australia we have been growing it as hedge for several years. And since it first started flowering I’ve been experimenting with traditional elderflower products.

Cordial, wine, and Royal Wedding Cakes

You can make cordial (non alcoholic) and wild sparkling wine by infusing the white flowers.

Or you can follow the lead of Harry and Meghan who famously chose a fragrant elderflower wedding cake – good call!

Alternatively, you can allow the flowers to develop and fall away, so you’re left with the stalks that develop small, shiny, black elderberries. These berries are great for wine making and jam.

Healing powers

The plant’s botanitcal name is ‘sambucas‘ and we grow the European variety ‘Sambucas nigra‘ at Ashton Park.

It is said to have healing properties including reducing swelling, for example in the sinuses. Some also believe it helps stave off coughs, colds and hayfever. But beware it can also have a diuretic effect.

If this area of natural medicine is of interest to you then you will probably be interested in reading more here about the German physician Martin Blcochwich who wrote the first book about the medicinal uses of the European elderberry tree. ‘The Anatomy of the Elder’ is still a standard reference work today.

It also has a diuretic effect.

Is Sambucca liquor the same thing?

While it may seem to make sense, it is not necessarily made of elderflower!

The Sambucca drink is principally anise based (star anise) but these days the product name is less directly linked to the ingredients. They can include herbs and even sometimes include elderflowers.

Collecting Ashton Park Elderflowers for Elderflower wine

Plant your own hedge

For those who come to my workshop, and want  their own plants to ensure they have all the flowers they need for their ‘wild wine’ making, I can supply potted plants ready for planting.

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Ashton Park

6077 Illawarra Highway
Moss Vale NSW 2577
+ 61 427 203 402

Ashton Park Address in the heart of the Southern Highlands