I’ll admit, the question of 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, even organic 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.
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.
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:
The Simple Veganista’s comforting autumnal recipe for Mushroom Bourginon calls for red wine to add flavour and depth.
Garlic and White Wine Pasta
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
This recipe for red wine braised lentils from Give It Some Thyme is another great autumnal dish.
Red Wine Brownies
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.