Despite our best efforts, we Kellers can end up with some leftover wine from time to time. (I know — crazy talk.) And — even crazier — sometimes we’re left with wine that, for whatever reason, we know isn’t going to be enjoyed in the traditional way (you know, from a glass?) before it goes bad.
If you occasionally find yourself in a similar position, I’ve collected a few ways you can put that leftover wine to use rather than having to pour it down the drain a few days after it’s been opened. I hope you find some of these helpful!
But before we jump into ways to use unconsumed wine, let’s take a moment to talk about the lifespan of an open bottle of wine. Wine begins to oxidize immediately upon opening, which causes a change in flavor. Red wines tend to last longer than whites, and aged wines hold up longer than their younger counterparts. The lovely folks over at The Daily Mail have put together these handy infographics showing how long, generally speaking, you can count on hanging onto an open bottle of wine:
Great! Now that we’ve got that piece covered, let’s move on to wine uses that fall outside of actually drinking the wine.
First up, some recipe ideas. (Because we have to start with food, right?) Here are some tasty recommendations for both savory and sweet options:
Red Wine Recipes:
- Red Wine Granita with Vanilla Ice Cream
- Red Wine Velvet Cake with Marscapone Icing
- Lentil Stew with Oranges
- Stewed Kale and Tomatoes
- Red Wine Burgers
- Basic Beef Stew
- Eggplant and Tofu Ratatouille
White Wine Recipes:
- Lemon Pepper Wine-Braised Broccoli
- Mango Moscato Smoothie
- Poached Salmon with Corn and White Wine Butter Sauce
- Mahimahi with Herbed White Wine Sauce
- Yogurt Panna Cotta with Apricots
- Vanilla Sparkling Wine Pound Cake
Okay, now on to some not-quite-as-obvious uses for your wine, in case you don’t feel like going the recipe route:
- Use white wine as a cleaner. You’ve probably heard that white wine can help get red wine stains out of carpet and upholstery, but it can be used to clean other surfaces as well, including glass. Or mix it with some baking soda to create a grease-fighting agent.
- Clean produce with red wine. As it turns out, the alcohol can clean away impurities on produce better than water can. Try using red wine in a spray bottle for this method.
- Fertilize plants with red wine. Composters, take note: adding some red wine to your compost bin can activate the bacteria inside and boost the growth of your garden once you use that fertilizer.
- Make your own red wine vinegar. Yes, technically this should probably have been listed above among the recipes, but this item seems more long-term than a single dish, so I placed it here. It seems easy!
- Keep flies away from your fruit. Dealing with pesky fruit flies? Leave an open bottle of wine with just a bit of wine left in your kitchen to work as a flytrap.
- Freeze it. Pour leftover wine into ice cube trays to save it for use later, either as ice cubes in beverages like sangria or as ingredients in recipes.
What are your favorite uses for leftover vino?