5 Things to Do With Bad Wine

Old wine, old wine. Hmm … well, its not a problem I often come across, to be perfectly honest. Were pretty fond of spiky beverages, round these parts. (Some of our neighbors here in Portland even send their plumbers home with a bottle of wine.)

But okay, I suppose it happens every now and again. A lonely bottle of Chardonnay gets pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten. Or a post-party Merlot gets left open, left out, for far too long to consider salvageable. These things happen to even the most dedicated of drinkers.

Then of course, there’s just the tragic occasion when a bottle, brand new and freshly poured, simply … stinks. Much like electrical work, winemaking is an exact science. Sometimes things just don’t come together.

Ah well. All’s not lost, my friends. As long as your wine isn’t growing fur or smelling like something long since dead, you still have options. Here are a few ideas:

1. Cook with It.

Contrary to popular belief (sorry Julia Child), it’s actually okay to cook with less-than-stellar wine. Blind taste tests have shown that as long as you’re boiling, braising, or otherwise reducing the liquid, the quality of the wine isn’t so important. So add it to a slow-simmered stew or a from-scratch pasta sauce. Try an on-its-way-to-vinegar white for cooking down onions or mushrooms. Don’t worry – no one will be any the wiser.

2. Bathe In It.

Yes, really! It’s called vinotherapy and it’s a great way to make use of a bottle you opened but didn’t care for. Celebrities such as Teri Hatcher pour a glass of red wine into the bath each day. The treatment is purported to soften the skin, as well as firming it up and adding elasticity. Whether a wine bath really works or not, it sure does sound like a way to get some “me time” in the bathroom!

3. Make Artisan Red Wine Vinegar.

Red wine vinegar comes in two main types: that stuff you buy at the store, and the stuff that’s really amazing. Want to get your hands on the amazing kind? Then make it yourself! It is a perfect project for wine that’s already started to sour. It’s actually very easy and man, the taste is just incomparable.

4. Use It As Dye.

We’ve all spent our fair share of time trying to remove red wine stains from tablecloths, so there’s no doubt that the stuff has staying power. This is a great project for a bottle that’s gone well past its prime, since there’s no ingesting or immersing involved. Wine-dyed fabrics have a lovely “crafty” quality, much the same as the popular tea-dyed look. Try it on linens or comfy cotton, Boho-style garments, and anything else that you want to endow with an earthy, natural vibe.

5. Dont Forget Compost.

For the bottle that’s really, actually gone, don’t worry – you still won’t have to throw it away. Wine is completely compostable and can even act as a “starter” to give the bacteria in your heap a little “kick-start”.

Got any other ideas? Share your best tips in the comments!

By Sayward Rebhal, Networx

11 Great Ways to Reuse Cork
Winemaking That Goes Beyond Organic

Sayward Rebhal writes for Networx. Get home & garden ideas like this on Networx.com.


Chris G.
.2 years ago

Hi I was searching for the blogs for many times, now I have reached at the right place.shooping

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

We had a bottle of wine that had been in the refrigerator for a couple of months. My husband is a beer drinker and I may have a glass of wine every 2 or 3 weeks (I'm not much of a drinker)!
I bought some pears that I didn't eat fast enough, so we had a bad case of Fruit Flies. I had read an article on Care2 about leaving out a glass of red wine with a little dish detergent added to it and the Fruit flies would land in it and can't get out. Well, - it works!! They liked it, and they drowned. I still see one of the little devils every once in a while, but the majority of them are gone! Yeah!!

Jane C.
Jane C3 years ago

I did not know wine could go in the composter! It would have to be really bad, though, for me to use it that way.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Margaret B.
Margaret B3 years ago

I've drunk some very good wines in my time, and some not so good ones! With the latter I have found that in good, 'fun' company, by the end of the first glass you think "that's not so bad" - seems to work better with reds than whites :D

Toni W.
Toni W3 years ago

Never happens here cause we don't drink very much wine these days - but good to share......thanks for the info.

Dale O.

Can't say that I have heard of peach mead, John c, but since I love peaches in all forms, it would be interesting to try...just to see if it is as bad as you say it is.

Vinotherapy, where some bath in a cup of wine per day? I have heard of wetting your whistle but this is a new one when it comes to a bath.

John chapman
John chapman3 years ago

My wife (who's a mega impulse buyer, bought a bottle of peach mead.

This stuff sets the bar for bad wine.

Enrico H.
Enrico H3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Judy Apelis
Judy A3 years ago

Love this!!