Homemade Red Wine Vinegar

by Shawnda on December 11, 2010

in Christmas,Condiments,Holiday Favorites

Ever end up with leftover red wine? Yeah, me neither.

We’re hobbyist home vintners. Over the last 4 or 5 years, we’ve bottled (and drank!) several varietals. We started a merlot that promised to be outstanding. And then life got in the way… and I pushed that outstanding merlot too far. We were left with few options so we chose to make Merlot Vinegar.

Wine, when exposed to air, slowly turns to vinegar. There are homemade vinegar kits that include “special” starters out on the interwebs and “special” bottles in which to brew your own vinegar. You can go that route and with great results, no doubt. But you can also do this with fantastic results and without much special equipment.

You need a starter: leftover wine will do.

You need a container: a wide jar will increase the surface area of the wine that is exposed to air.

You need a cover: A few layers of gauze or cheesecloth (maybe an old kitchen towel) fastened with some twine or a rubberband will keep dust and other unpleasantries out of your vinegar.

You need time: Our merlot vinegar sat for 4 months in a corner of a little-used room.

I purchased hermetic bottles at The Container Store, and with the aid of a funnel, filled the jars. I also printed a card with a few recipes that used for red wine vinegar, just in case the recipients needed some ideas:

Shannon’s Chili

Merlot Vinaigrette

Sundried Tomato Jam

The 12 Days of Homemade Christmas 2010
Swirly Chocolate-Peppermint Bark Fleur de Sel Caramels Chocolate Crackles Tahitian Vanilla Beans Peppermint Chunk Cookies Red, White, and Green Biscotti
Cranberry Pecan Bread Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix Homemade Red Wine Vinegar Homemade Granola Homemade Marshmallows


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tiffany @ Conor & Bella December 12, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Interesting! I would never think to make my own. Thanks for sharing!


2 Gwen December 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm

I’ve googled red wine vinegar recipes and they’re all much more complicated, so I want to be sure I understand your process. I can put a bottle of wine in a container, cover it with something that will let air through, and just let it sit for 4 months? I don’t need to do anything else?



3 foodiebride December 12, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Gwen – that’s all we did!


4 Gwen December 12, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Thanks! I’m excited to try this out!


5 Peter December 16, 2010 at 11:08 am

It’s funny; I just stumbled on this post after putting up my own about homemade vinegar. I wish someone had told me 20 years ago how easy it is.


6 Renee January 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I love this! I so wish I had seen this a couple days ago– I just threw out two bottles of old red wine. I know, bad me. (1. For letting wine go to waste. 2. Not seeing what I could do before chucking it down the sink.)


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: