I’m no expert, but my wife and I teamed up to do a 5 gallon batch of elderberry wine in the very first year that SWD hit in my part of CT. We gathered roadside elderberries from all over town for this. I wanna say it was August 2013. Some of them were loaded with the worms by the time we got them home, unfortunately. My wife did great making sure the stems were removed from every berry and I believe this does make a difference in the flavor of the final product. We followed the recipe from the Winemaker’s Recipe Handbook and it made probably the best wine I’ve ever made at home. Better than even the blueberry wine, which is great when made with home-grown berries but disappointing from any store bought blueberries I’ve tried making it with (we currently are in a different house, with immature plants that aren’t bearing yet).
It’s a real pain to collect elderberries in small quantities from various roadside areas and pollution is a concern there, and if SWD is going to hit right at peak elderberry time then I see no reason to try planting the named varieties. But boy, all the people who’ve told me that elderberry makes a good wine were right.
Edit: Oh here we go, a solution. Now it’ll be on my mind. Hah!