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7 Ways to Use Leftover Red Wine

7 Ways to Use Leftover Red Wine

Red wine doesn’t last long in an open bottle. Even if you’ve tried to vacuum out the air and cork or cap it tightly, no matter. After a couple of days, it just won’t be that tasty. Fortunately, there are at least 7 smart ways to use leftover wine so you won’t have to throw it away.

1) Make ice. Pour the wine into ice cube trays and freeze to use later to add a little depth to a stew or sauce.

2) Make sauce. Speaking of sauce, you can make a delicious red wine sauce for meat, chicken or grilled or braised vegetables. Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms in a heavy pan like cast iron, so the mixture won’t burn. Add a cup or so of red wine and simmer until the wine boils down almost into a syrup. Add a little boullion or soup stock to get the consistency you want. Serve the sauce on the side, or drizzle over your entree before serving.

3) Add it to other sauces, gazpacho, ratatouille and stew. I’ve gotten into the habit of adding leftover red wine to almost anything I make that has a tomato base. From cold gazpacho to hot ratatouille and everything in between, I’ll add as much as a cup of wine if I have that much leftover and I think the recipe can handle it.

4) Make salad dressing. Whisk 1 tablespoon of leftover wine together with 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Add finely chopped shallot, a dollop of Dijon style mustard, and 6-9 tablespoons of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Whisk vigorously (or shake in a jar with a lid) until well blended.

5) Poach fruit. Put 3 cups of wine in a stock pot and add 1/2-2/3 cup sugar, plus additional spices for flavors you love: a cinnamon stick, star anise, fresh ginger, all spice, whole cloves. Boil the concoction and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add 4-5 cups of peeled fruit – choose something firm like apples or pears, or give peaches a try if you don’t mind that they’ll get pretty soft when they’re poached. Simmer until the fruit is tender, but not falling apart. Remove from heat, and cool completely. Serve with fresh lemon or orange wedges you can squirt for a little zing before eating.

6) Deglaze a pan. If you’ve sauteed meat, chicken or vegetables in a pan, remove those ingredients and then add a cup of leftover wine. Simmer as you stir the bits leftover in the pan into the wine. The wine will reduce to a thick syrup infused with the delicious drippings from the pan that you can serve over the vegetables and meat you just cooked.

7) Flavor salt. I haven’t made this yet, but it sounds delicious. Pour leftover wine into heavy-bottomed pot and simmer 30 minutes or so until the wine becomes a thick syrup. For every tablespoon of liquid, add 1 1/2 cups of salt. Make sure to use rock salt, not finely grained table salt. Stir well, then spread on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Let dry overnight, then store in jars with lids.

What do you do with leftover red wine? Please share!


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Diane MacEachern

Diane MacEachern is a best-selling author, award-winning entrepreneur and mother of two with a Master of Science degree in Natural Resources and the Environment. Glamour magazine calls her an “eco hero” and she recently won the “Image of the Future Prize” from the World Communications Forum, but she’d rather tell you about the passive solar house she helped design and build way back when most people thought “green” was the color a building was painted, not how it was built. She founded because she’s passionate about inspiring consumers to shift their spending to greener products and services to protect themselves and their families while using their marketplace clout to get companies to clean up their act. Send her an email at


+ add your own
2:12AM PST on Nov 26, 2014

Agree with James M

"Ha, ha, ha - as noted, rarely have
"leftover" wine, but will certainly
consider some of these.
I have opened a bottle of wine to
add to a stew and then had the
rest with the stew...."

1:07AM PST on Nov 11, 2014

Thank you!

4:16PM PDT on Sep 7, 2014

if you can't drink it, don't open it

8:38AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

I always have leftover wine as one glass is my limit these days. So I use the leftover wine in my black beans. It make a delicious thick sauce with a addictive flavor.

2:47AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014


2:04PM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

Like most people posting here I don't often have leftover wine.

But once when I did, I tried freezing it. It doesn't work in a domestic freezer as it doesn't get cold enough!! Ended up with a sort-of wine slush puppy!

8:11PM PDT on Aug 24, 2014

LOL, agreed no leftover wine here.... ;)

8:31AM PDT on Aug 23, 2014

Ok, I'm one of the people who has leftover wine! I like it but 1 glass is my limit. I do love cooking with leftover wine though. Red wines deepen a tomato-based sauce. White is great with anything that has onions and garlic! A chef said the best wine for cooking is the cheap not fancy ones anyways. Big jug of Gallo white is great for cooking, as is red Two Buck Chuck!

10:57PM PDT on Aug 22, 2014


4:02PM PDT on Aug 22, 2014


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