How to Turn Leftover Wine into Vinegar

Wine. Glass of white wine in wine cellar. Old white wine on wood.
A wine vinegar has complex but robust flavors that you can drizzle to your meals and salads. It’s a cross between two kitchen staples, a literal taste of two worlds. And unlike other kinds of vinegars, it’s known to have lower acidic qualities, but that doesn’t mean it skips on the signature refreshing tang that you’ve come to love on vinegars.

This condiment is usually expensive, but it’s really surprisingly easy to make. Using your leftovers and a bit of time, you can have your very own wine vinegar without breaking your budget.

leftover wines
mother of vinegar

empty jar
thick rubber band or string
sealable bottle/s


1. Collect leftover wines into the empty jar. Some people prefer to make vinegar with only one kind of wine. But, vinegar made from several kinds of wines is just as good. After all, what you’re doing here is breathing new life into the liqueur that you don’t want to drink anymore.

2. Mix in a “mother”. When the jar gets to 60 to 70% full, add in the “mother”. The mother is the source of the acetic bacteria that develops when you’re fermenting the wine. It’s the substance that turns the alcoholic drink into acetic acid. One popular mother you can use is apple cider that has the label “with mother” in it.

3. Stir the concoction vigorously. You want to mix the ingredients together well enough to evenly spread the mother throughout the jar. But more importantly, stirring the mixture forcefully aerates it. This air helps the mother because it consumes the sulfur dioxide in the wines that prevents the acetic bacteria from growing. Some makers transfer the wine-vinegar mixture from one bottle to another using a funnel to get the air in. Whichever method you choose, the aim to aerate is still the same.

4. Cover the jar’s mouth with a clean towel, and secure it with a rubber band. The towel protects the jar from dirt and dust that can get inside while still letting the air in. Make sure the rubber band is big enough to snuggly fit into the jar’s mouth. And if you don’t have a rubber band, a string will do.

5. Let the jar sit in a dark corner at room temperature. Direct sunlight ruins the preservative qualities of the vinegar, but it’s stable at room temperature.

6. Stir the wine vinegar regularly, every day. You want to open up the jar and keep stirring the wine vinegar every day. Keep an eye out for a thin film to appear on the surface. This means you can start tasting it if it’s fermented enough.

7. Start tasting the vinegar after a month. After 30 days, for every time you finish stirring the concoction, taste it. Note that sometimes, it won’t take 30 days because the fermentation process varies. DO NOT dip a spoon that has just touched your mouth into the wine vinegar. When you want to taste it, grab a small ladle, and dip it into the jar. Get a small amount of the vinegar into it, and pour it into a saucer. This way, you’re not contaminating the vinegar with bacteria from your mouth.

8. When you finally get to taste the flavor that you like, transfer the wine vinegar into a resealable bottle. Move it into an airtight bottle. You want to stop it from being exposed to the air, but it has to continue to ferment without spoiling. You can now store this anywhere in your kitchen, but you still have to keep it away from the sunlight.

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