Food & Drink

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips

What to do With Leftover Wine

what to do with leftover wine

I’ll admit, the question, what to do with leftover wine, doesn’t really pass my lips very often. However, I have found myself asking that question with greater frequency this year, as gatherings with friends and family have been curtailed.

As the only one in my household who likes wine, a whole bottle of red wine is not something I can drink by myself in one sitting. In younger years, oh yes, with abandon! But now, my head aches in advance at the mere thought of drinking a whole bottle. I try so very hard (so hard!) not to waste wine, but sometimes it just can’t be helped.

Is Wine Waste A Problem?

The thing is wine waste is a surprisingly large problem. According to research by UK wine merchant Laithwaites, the average British household throws away around two glasses of wine a week on average. This is the equivalent of 624m bottles nationally, which is enough to fill 333 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Whilst the carbon footprint of producing and transport wine is hard to calculate, it undoubtedly does have a footprint. See this guide to ethical wine for help choosing a better bottle. Ethics aside, it’s also important to minimise food waste where we can.

How long does wine last for once opened?

First off, it’s important to know how long opened wine can be stored for, before going bad. As a student I used to work in bars and so the following guide is imprinted in my brain:

  • Opened white wine lasts for up to three days in a refrigerator.
  • Opened Prosecco or Cava again stores for up to three days in the fridge.
  • Champagne can store for up to five days in the fridge.
  • Rose wine can store for up to five days in the fridge
  • Open red wine lasts for up to five days stored in a cool dark place, such as a cupboard.
  • Fortified wines, such as sherry and port, are best if drank within 28 days of opening, and stored in a cool dark place.

In all cases, make sure you replace the cork, lid if it’s a screw top, or use a bottle stop.

tips on using up leftover wine

What to do with leftover wine?

If you can’t drink your wine before it goes off – which you’ll know by that classic vinegar smell and taste – then here are some ideas with what to do with leftover wine.

Freeze It

One of the best ways to use leftover wine is to pour it into ice cube trays or muffin trays and freeze it to use in future recipes, such as stews, sauces, or bolognese.

Once frozen, you can pop them out into a container for storage, and then use them in recipes that call for a small quantity of wine. Bear in the mind that because of the alcohol content of the wine, the frozen cubes of wine won’t be as hard as standard ice-cubes made of water. However, they will be solid enough to transfer into a tub or bag.

Cook With It

If you’re planning on cooking with wine straight away then skip the freezing, and proceed straight to cooking. Leftover wine is great way to add flavour to your cooking. Here are five vegan recipes that call for wine:

Mushroom Bourginon

cooking with leftover wine

The Simple Veganista’s comforting autumnal recipe for Mushroom Bourginon calls for red wine to add flavour and depth.

Garlic and White Wine Pasta

vegan recipe for using up leftover wine

The Minimalist’s Baker’s recipe for garlic and white wine pasta with brussels sprouts is high up on my list of recipes to try this winter. I love brussels sprouts.

Red Wine Braised Lentils

leftover wine vegan recipe

This recipe for red wine braised lentils from Give It Some Thyme is another great autumnal dish.

Red Wine Brownies

vegan brownie recipe

Finally, hankering after something sweet? These vegan brownies are made with red wine for added flavour.

Any other tips or recipes for using up leftover wine? Do share with Moral Fibres readers in the comments below. And find more food waste tips this way.

Food & Drink

Five Food Waste Heroes Helping to Save The Planet

food waste heroes

Check out the five food waste heroes helping to save the planet, with their clever ways of making produce from food that would otherwise be binned.

Food waste is a huge issue. Food production is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. In fact, about one-third of greenhouse emissions globally come from agriculture.

Despite this, both at the household level and at the manufacturing level, we are very wasteful when it comes to food. 30% of the food we produce is wasted – about 1.8 billion tonnes of it a year. So much so, that it has been estimated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.

What Can We Do to Fight Food Waste?

There are lots of food waste tips you can follow at home to reduce your food waste. However, the buck shouldn’t just stop with householders.

What about manufacturers? They have a huge part to play in reducing food waste. The good news is that there is a host of companies out there, making not just one product, but their entire range from surplus food, or food waste.

The Companies Fighting Food Waste

UK companies are leading the way in reducing food waste. From chutneys and preserves from imperfect produce; to gin made from wine industry leftovers. From beer made from surplus bread; to beauty products from cafe waste. There’s an innovative solution to many of our food waste problems.

Here are five such companies leading the way in the fight against food waste. This post uses affiliate links which are denoted by an *.

Rubies In The Rubble

rubies in the rubble chutneys and ketchups

Rubies In The Rubble make ketchup, vegan mayonnaise, chutneys, and preserves out of fruit and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. This produce goes to waste not because they taste any different, but often because they’re the wrong shape, size, or colour for supermarkets. In some cases, it’s because the produce doesn’t look a certain way. Whilst in other cases, the produce is too ripe and doesn’t meet the supermarket’s strict shelf life criteria. Other times there may have been an overabundance of a crop. In short, there are many reasons why producers may discard fruit and vegetables, so thank goodness for Rubies in the Rubble!

Find their products – all priced £3.50 – direct via their website or via Ethical Superstore*, and in some Sainsbury’s stores.

UpCircle Beauty

upcircle beauty products made from waste materials

UpCircle Beauty started with the idea of giving used coffee grounds from cafes a new lease of life. As such, they decided to create deliciously scented face and body scrubs made from used coffee. UpCircle Beauty has now reused more than 250 tonnes of used coffee grounds in their sustainable skincare products.

They have since expanded their range, and their soaps give brewed chai tea spices a new beginning. Meanwhile, other new products, such as moisturisers and serums, are made with discarded fruit stones.

You can buy their skincare products online from Beauty Bay*.

Foxhole Spirits

foxhole spirits hyke gin made from food waste

Foxhole Spirits make delicious gins and rums made from by-products from the wine industry.

Working with the Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex, their Foxhole Gin is made from leftovers from the English winemaking industry. These include the leftover pressing juices as well as the grapes.

Their Hyke Gin is made from internationally sourced grapes that are deemed as “not suitable for fresh consumption”. Working in collaboration with one of the UK’s biggest fruit importers, Foxhole is managing to use 1.4 million punnets of surplus grapes per year, which otherwise would have gone to waste.

Buy their spirits directly from their website or in selected branches of Tesco, Waitrose, and M&S.

Toast Ale

toast ale beer made from bread

Toast Ale brew beer made using surplus fresh bread sourced from bakeries and sandwich makers that would otherwise go to waste. Using surplus bread reduces the need for virgin grain. This in turn reduces the demand for land, water, and energy, which helps reduce carbon emissions too.

What’s more, all profits go to the environmental charity Feedback to help end food waste and fund systemic change to fix the food system.

Their range of beers – from craft lager, to pale ale, American pale ale and session IPA – can be purchased direct from Toast (with 10% your first order if you subscribe to their newsletter) with free delivery. You can also pick bottles up in selected branches of Waitrose and the Co-Op.

Urban Cordial

urban cordial circular economy

Urban Cordial uses surplus fruits sourced from British farms to make their range of low sugar grown-up cordials. Each flavour is made in small batches to create cordials bursting with taste.

The fruits used are deemed not suitable for sale in supermarkets. Perhaps they’re too small, too big, or too lumpy, have imperfections, or just not the right shape. In fact, Urban Cordial has helped to save over 30 tonnes of fruit from landfill.

At the moment, their seasonal ranges include Strawberry and Sage, Pear and Ginger, Elderflower, and Blackberry and Lavender. All of these can be purchased directly from the Urban Cordial website.

Thank goodness for our food waste heroes!